GIPPSLAND Southern Health Service entered previously unchartered waters last financial year when it posted a record loss of $1.363 million as it bedded down operations at its new hospital in Leongatha.
That compares unfavourably with a budget aspiration for a $1.4 million surplus and a slight profit the previous year of $388,000.
But at the health service’s annual general meeting last Thursday, November 26, hospital board president Mark Holmes said the organisation was on target for a much better result this year.
“We are tracking along in the black at the moment, budgeting for a $500,000 deficit but we would be hopeful of doing better than that,” Mr Holmes said.
“We have bought new imaging equipment and we’re also expanding services, so we would hope to increase the number of patients receiving care at Leongatha, Korumburra and our other facilities.”
Those numbers fell last year, he said.
“We’re already exceeding last year’s numbers,” he said.
They’d need to.
Although no patient throughput figures are provided in any of the public reports handed out last week, the indicator figure for ‘Weighted Inlier Equivalent Separations (WIES)’ shows a 4.8 per cent reduction in patient activity while income from Veterans Affairs and TAC patients was also down slightly.
Mr Holmes also said aged care facilities were well below capacity last year, affecting income.
Revenue was down by $1.2 million and expenditure was up by $1.5 million.
It was board treasurer Peter Siggins who confirmed details in the health service’s annual report that the organisation had posted a $1.363m loss, much of which, he said, was down to a reduction in the delivery of service, generating $860,000 less in income.
He also said there had been a significant increase in employee expenditure.
“The board, management and the Department of Health have committed to a financial improvement plan against specific targets,” Mr Siggins said.
“We made some improvements but there’s still more to be done,” he said.
Earlier Mr Holmes said the health service had 204 births last year, and although he didn’t say how this compared to previous years, he did say the board had taken note of issues associated with allegedly ‘avoidable’ deaths at the Bacchus Marsh Hospital and the need to keep the board briefed on clinical matters.
He also highlighted the fantastic contribution by 100 registered volunteers across each of the facilities at the Leongatha and Korumburra hospitals, Tarwin Lower and Korumburra community centres, Alchera House, Hillside Lodge and Koorooman House.
The meeting concluded with presentations to retiring board members and long-serving volunteers.
Hospital ‘on track’ after $1.363m loss