Northern Health will have the support it needs to fight the flu this winter, thanks to a boost for emergency departments from the Andrews Government.

Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny today announced $50 million from the Victorian Budget 2018/19 to help hospitals open more beds, hire more doctors and nurses and treat more patients.

As part of this boost, Northern Health will receive $8,032,166 to address their local winter demands in a range of ways that best suit their community’s needs – for example, putting on more doctors and nurses, or opening more beds to treat more patients.

Last year, Victoria experienced a horror flu season – one of the worst on record –  with more than 48,000 confirmed cases of influenza and a record number of people presenting to emergency departments each day.

This early Budget funding boost will see 17 of Victoria’s largest health services get the extra funding they need to plan now ahead of winter and cater for more patients presenting to emergency departments with the flu.

The Government is also providing $3.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 to provide free flu shots for Victorian children aged six months up to five years, available from May 2018.

Despite Victoria urging Malcolm Turnbull to expand the National Immunisation Program to protect vulnerable groups like children, he refused to listen, leaving Victoria to once again step in and fill the gap.

This early Budget boosts builds on the record funding provided in last year’s Budget that saw hospitals receive $1.67 billion to help meet demand and provide the care Victorian patients deserve.

The Andrews Government’s record investment is in stark contrast to Malcolm Turnbull, who continues to hold funding for Victorian hospitals hostage, with a proposed agreement that would see our state shortchanged by $2.1 billion.