In an extraordinary backflip, Health Minister Snelling is now offering Keith Hospital total grant funding of $1 million per year just three years after the Labor Government decided to cut funding by $370,000 per year.
Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas said the Labor Government’s handling of Keith Hospital’s funding had been an unmitigated disaster.
“The Keith community has campaigned for three years now opposing Labor’s decision to cut funding, warning it could possibly lead to the hospital’s closure,” said Mr Lucas.
“For three years the Liberal Party has supported the Keith community in its campaign to keep the hospital open, and our support will continue.
“Labor’s threatened funding cut has caused significant difficulties for the Keith hospital board in managing its finances.
“The threat of possible closure has made it difficult to attract doctors and staff to Keith, and also impacted on the numbers of patients utilising the hospital’s nursing home beds.
“Minister Snelling has caused further difficulties in negotiating a solution by deciding to release confidential discussions to the media and inferring the Board had been ‘bloody minded’ in their negotiation.
“Board Chairman James De Barro is quoted as saying he was stunned the offer had been made public because they had been warned the discussion had to be kept confidential.
“This is yet another example of Minister Snelling and the Labor Government’s ‘ham fisted’ attempts at negotiating a solution and it will not help resolve the dispute with the Keith community.
“Minister Snelling needs to realise this mess has been created by his Government and it is time for him to sit down and resolve the dispute.”