31 Oct 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Shane Douthie Election pledge, to fund more specialist health treatments at hospital A $10 MILLION election promise to Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) would enable world-leading specialists to treat more patients locally, Premier Daniel Andrews said in Wangaratta on Monday. The money would come on top of the $22.1 million the Andrews Labor Government has already invested in the local health service in the last three years and would fund other major projects at NHW. Mr Andrews said the issue became real to him after one of the last conversations he had with his father who was being treated at NHW during his battle with cancer before he died. My Dad spent so many of his final days between home and hospital in Melbourne, he said. He never complained about having to travel to Melbourne for specialist care. He deserved better, and so does every patient in regional Victoria. Regional Victorians should never be deprived of high quality care just because of where they live and funding more specialist services will ensure patients will get specialised healthcare closer to home. There are thousands of patients who are away from their families in their darkest hours hence the reason for this funding. A re-elected Labor Government will make sure locals can access 9700 more appointments to see specialists for health issues such as chronic pain, allergies or heart conditions over the next four years. We will also establish a registry for GPs to access, with information about individual hospital wait lists, so that country patients are seen faster and closer to home. NHW chief executive officer Margaret Bennett was ecstatic about the extra funding. This funding will enable us to do more than we could with the existing $22 million redevelopment allocation, Ms Bennett said. The additions will include a desperately needed makeover of maternity, including more maternity beds and a new special care nursery, and we will also be able to make changes within the emergency department to best support the growth in activity, additional to the new eight bed short stay unit. Mr Andrews would not put a date on when the funding would be made available if he was re-elected but said, like the previous NHW commitments, his government would waste no time in making them. I love this place (NHW), Mr Andrews said. It was very good to me and my family like it is to every family. The best way to thank the hospital for that is to provide money for them. Mr Andrews was joined at the Wangaratta hospital for the announcement by Health Minister Jill Hennessey, Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) and newly announced candidate for Ovens Valley Kate Doyle. He said state-wide new funding would boost rural and regional specialist medical services by an extra 500,000 specialist appointments over four years including 75,000 extra appointments for heart conditions, 30,000 appointments for arthritis, 50,000 appointments for chronic pain and 40,000 additional appointments for patients suffering from cancer