A SURGEON says the promise of a new cardiac catheterisation centre for Albury- Wodonga has highlighted the need for ongoing funding commitments.
Neil Bright, of Albury, welcomed the Coalition’s pledge to build the $5 million centre at Albury Wodonga Health.
But he raised serious concerns about the cost of running it.
He said there had so far been no indication of extra funding for the Border cancer centre either, which would cost a lot more to run than the two cancer care nurses pledged by the Labor government.
“It (the cardiac centre) is essential infrastructure,” Dr Bright said.
“But if they’re going to put it in, they need to give us the money to run it at the same time.
“To build it is fine, but that’s not what costs the money — it’s running it that costs.
“And so far we haven’t seen anything to say that’s happening.
“If you’re adding new services, how are you going to pay for it?”
Dr Bright, a general surgeon, said Albury Wodonga Heath would struggle to operate the centre if it was expected to come out of its existing budget.
The service is running at a deficit even after reducing elective surgeries in recent months, he said.
He said it was essential the project be budgeted from all sides, and a long-term, sustainable budget produced for the entire service.
The budget needed to be free it from state politics and from a single funding source, he said.
“That sort of money will have to be given for changes to services over the next five to 10 years, and that hasn’t been seen either.
A spokesman for member for Indi MP Sophie Mirabella’s office said funding to operate health services was the responsibility of state governments in the first instance, and directed questions to the Victorian Health Minister David Davis’ office.
Mr Davis said at the time of the announcement that the state government would “work through the additional costs of that and I’m confident we can provide those services.”