TEN patients were “shuffled” from the Wodonga hospital to Albury Base Hospital this week in a move that upset nurses and patients.
Albury Wodonga Health ordered the transfer of the rehabilitation ward patients on Tuesday, giving staff little notice.
Executive director of clinical operations Catherine O’Connell conceded last night that the lack of notice had been “regrettable”.
A patient, who did not wish to be named, said other patients were moved within the Wodonga hospital due to a consolidation of medical and surgical beds in one area.
“Some of the people moved to Albury were upset,” the patient said.
Ms O’Connell said staff and patients were unhappy.
“Things happened too fast and there wasn’t the full consultation there should have been,” she said.
Chief executive Dr Stuart Spring yesterday addressed the staff and Ms O’Connell said she was confident the move would benefit the patients in the long run.
The moves were made due to the closure of 20 beds across both hospitals, in addition to the eight beds closed because of construction work for Wodonga’s emergency and endoscopy departments.
They have left the two hospitals with only 232 beds at a time when Albury Wodonga Health is calling for 50 voluntary redundancies and warning of longer waiting times for elective surgery for public patients.
A $3.9 million shortfall in government funding for the next six months is behind the cuts.
Member for Indi Sophie Mirabella said last night the cuts to services and redundancy programs “illustrated the devastating impact of federal Labor’s cruel budget cuts”.
“Unless there is an immediate reversal of funding cuts, local patients will suffer badly,” she said.
Mrs Mirabella said the impact of the cuts were exacerbated by their retrospective nature.
Mrs Mirabella has written to federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and urged a rethink.
Ms Plibersek will meet Victorian Health Minister David Davis tomorrow to discuss the funding stoush between the Commonwealth and states.