Hospital staff in budget wait

HEALTH unions say Tasmania's three major hospitals have waited too long to discover their budgets will not be enough to make ends meet this financial year.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne's office could not confirm yesterday that the three regions and key hospitals had this week been told of their main funding allocations for 2012-13.

It is understood that the Launceston General Hospital, the North-West Regional Hospital and the Royal Hobart Hospital chief executives were notified but senior staff still don't know.

Unions say that the LGH expects to get about an extra $6 million compared with last year. The RHH will get about an extra $9 million.

This means that even with the extra $2.6 million that the LGH will get for elective surgery from the federal government, it will not make up the $10 million cut from its surgery budget last financial year.

Northern Tasmanian Health Organisation chief executive John Kirwan was not available for comment yesterday.

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said that nurse unit managers at the three hospitals still did not know their budgets.

``This is deeply concerning  to expect managers of multimillion- dollar budgets to be kept in the dark until this late stage of the financial year,'' Mrs Ellis said.

``It would never happen in private business.''

Health and Community Services Union assistant state secretary Tim Jacobson said that there was not enough money to go around last year and that some hospitals were still carrying deficits.

Australian Medical Association Northern Tasmanian spokesman Glenn Richardson said that LGH staff were worried that they did not yet have the financial information to plan for the year.

The LGH surgery budget was $56 million last financial year compared with $66 million the previous year.


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