IN a media statement regarding management of Mildura Base Hospital’s return to public hands, Liberal Member for Northern Region, Wendy Lovell said the decision presents a challenge for the Andrews Labor Government and Member for Mildura Ali Cupper.

“I have always advocated that any change in management at Mildura Base Hospital must be accompanied by funding for infrastructure investment, and must not result in any decline in services for the people of the Sunraysia,” Ms Lovell said.

“Now that the Mildura Base Hospital is to be returned to public management under the State Government, I challenge Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Ms Cupper to give the Mildura community the following guarantees.

“Firstly, the Andrews Labor Government will provide funding for infrastructure investment at Mildura Base Hospital equal to or greater than the promised $13million from Ramsay Health. “Secondly, that all health services currently offered at the hospital will continue.” 

Ms Lovell also called on the government to guarantee that the change of management will result in an expansion of health services and an improvement in the quality of health services consistent with the growing population of the Mildura community. 

“I also ask them to give an undertaking that Mildura Base Hospital will be managed locally and not managed remotely by Bendigo Health or any other health service,” she said. 

“It is now up to Ms Mikakos and Ms Cupper to ensure that the change of management will deliver better and expanded health services for the entire Sunraysia community to complement the return to public ownership of the hospital building, and the expansion of the hospital emergency department and mental health services capacity delivered by the Liberal-Nationals Government.”

National’s Leader Peter Walsh said that the decision had been made and that needs to be accepted.

“It has happened and I accept that. I think the key now is to make sure that the Andrews Government ensure the services are maintained or improved, including capital expenditure,” he said. 

“It’s all very well to put it back into public control, but they now have to make sure that they actually do the expansion that is needed, and they guarantee the specialist services. 

“There is always a challenge to get specialists and doctors to come out into our regional areas, and Mildura is no exception to that, but they have to make sure that people are there to deliver the health services.” 

During his press conference at the hospital last week, the Premier gave an undertaking that his government would guarantee the continuous improvement toward building a bigger and better Mildura Base Hospital with more services on offer.

“I want to see expanded services in here and I want to see us do more with better connections between this hospital and others across our State,” he said.

Labor’s Upper House Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp, who stood alongside the Premier and Health Minister for the announcement in Mildura last week, said it was a great day for the people of Sunraysia, not just Mildura.

“Since I have been in Parliament for the last two-and-a-half years, the number one issue that people want to talk to me about for Mildura is the hospital and I am really pleased at this outcome,” he said.

“Every conversation I had with Daniel or Jenny, and the previous Health Minister Jill Hennessy, they were always receiving those comments from the community well, and were in touch with the community sentiment, and as we can see today not only have they heard those views, they have listened and taken action.

“It’s a proud day for me as a member of the Labor Government, but I am very proud for the community who have worked so hard for 20 years to get this hospital back into their control.”