July 19, 2024

Staff at a major Victorian hospital have been urged to undertake simple measures like “turning off lights” in response to crippling budget cuts plaguing the state’s health system.

The Alfred Hospital chief executive Andrew Way admitted to staff today that the hospital’s budget was “significantly less” than what they planned for, in a leaked email obtained by former 3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell AO.

The email states the health service was doing everything in its power to minimise the impact on patients and staff, saying they would have “to stop things (they) have been able to do” previously.

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The email also emphasises the importance of exercising financial discipline.

An example included only recruiting for critical roles, reducing transport costs and simple things “like turning off the lights when (you) leave the room”.

The email comes as Victoria’s health system navigates a difficult state budget handed down by the government in May.

Northern Health and Western Health, two of the state’s largest health services have also implemented cost-saving initiatives, according to The Age.

Both services, which each manage several hospitals and health centres, announced a hiring freeze.

An Alfred Health spokesperson said they would continue to work with the Department of Health to finalise the 2024-25 budget for the health service.

“Recognising the difficult budgetary environment, we are reviewing all aspects of our activities including corporate and back-of-house services,” the spokesperson said.

“Our priority is to minimise impact on patients and support our dedicated staff.”

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