Petition calls for hospital funding

Petition calls for hospital funding

Bentley resident Alan Bateson is worried about the future of Bentley Hospital in the face of federal funding reductions. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

Bentley resident Alan Bateson, 62, is leading the charge on public hospital funding after starting an online petition calling for politicians to reverse previous funding cuts.

Mr Bateson said the 2014 budget, which announced more than $50 billion in savings to health funding over a decade, would leave hospitals like Bentley Hospital in a dire position.

He started his petition in May and as of June 13 it had 380 signatures.

Bentley Hospital has been a battleground of cost cutting since its 23-bed maternity ward was earmarked for closure in November last year.

It was only after a strong community campaign that former health minister Kim Hames decided to keep it open.

Having used the services at the hospital for coronary issues Mr Bateson said he had already noticed increased delays in treatment and urged all parties to reinstate the funding.

“The Bentley Hospital offers the people of Perth an alternative to the major hospitals for a lot of minor to medium operations,” he said.

“It’s a real family place with doctors and nurses who tend to the needs of the local community. As far as I’m concerned I would like to see the actual government take the health of the nation a lot more seriously than what they do.

“I find it a shame to see any cuts in public medical services, it’s really a sad state of affairs.”

Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons said the Federal Government was increasing funding.

“The Turnbull Government funding for WA hospitals is over $10.7 billion over five years, an increase of 36 per cent,” he said.

He also said he has worked to ensure services continued at the hospital.

“Community members have approached me about Bentley Hospital before and I have worked closely with the Bentley Community Advisory Council to ensure the vital services that the hospital provides continue,” he said.

Bentley Hospital director of surgery Mark Strahan said currently Bentley was one of the most efficient hospitals in WA and was 50 per cent more efficient than the bigger hospitals.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley did not respond to requests for comment.