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Surgery should continue at regional Victorian hospitals13 January 2005
The HSU has called for a decision to stop surgery at two regional Victorian hospitals to be reversed.
Both the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service and the Kooweerup Regional Health Service have decided to shut their operating theatres.
The closure of the operating theatres means that an estimated 2,500 surgery places have been cut in Victoria in the past two days.
HSU state secretary, Jeff Jackson, called on the Bracks Government to urgently provide funding to keep surgery at both hospitals open to help treat the serious backlog of Victorians waiting for surgery.
"It is outrageous that the Brack's Government is allowing 2,500 surgery places to close given that tens of thousands Victorians are waiting for surgery."
Latest State Government figures show that 40,000 Victorians were on public hospital waiting lists in the September quarter, with a massive 6,708 people waiting for surgery at regional hospitals alone.
"At the very least - surgery at both regional hospitals should be kept open to help provide elective surgery to the thousands of Victorians who are waiting for treatment in regional areas."
Mr Jackson said that the closure will be particularly disappointing to people waiting for surgery in the local area who now face cancellations and a possible two year wait for surgery at nearby Bendigo hospital.
"Local patients hit by cancellations face further waiting times putting even more pressure on the public health system."
Mr Jackson said that it would be irresponsible for the State Government to sit on its hands and do nothing while so many Victorians - especially those in regional areas - waited for elective surgery.