Skinner caught out lying about new hospital beds – claims chairs as beds and old beds as brand new

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For the second year in succession, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner has been caught out lying about the real number of new hospital beds opened under her Government – with revelations today that 75 per cent of the beds she claims to have opened are either Federally funded or were up and running under the former State Government.

Ms Skinner today told Parliamentary Budget Estimates that as of July 2013, she had delivered 835 of the Liberals’ promised 1390 additional hospital beds.

This is untrue. Of the beds Ms Skinner claims to have opened:
• 304 are Federally funded sub-acute beds;
• 356 are acute beds opened by the former Labor State Government in office; and
• The Auditor General has confirmed the Health Minister is still counting treatment spaces and chairs as hospital beds.

As the Auditor General stated in his 2012 Financial Audit – Volume Eleven (Health), the number of beds available across NSW was 24,141 in June 2012 – a rise of only 214 since June 2010.
Shadow Health Minister Dr Andrew McDonald said the Minister’s attempt to claim hospital beds up and running before the O’Farrell Government came to office as brand new was deliberately disingenuous.

“Jillian Skinner is a serial fibber in relation to opening new hospital beds,” Dr McDonald said.

“Even on the most generous interpretation, the Minister has opened just 175 additional State-funded beds – wildly off her target of 1390.

“The Minister’s lies would be laughable if this wasn’t such a serious issue.

“The failure to open new beds as demand grows means NSW patients are waiting longer for elective and emergency surgery.”

Labor MLC Luke Foley said: “This is a Minister who counts chairs as beds and believes the first step in upgrading a hospital is making sure you have the car park right.”

“Even if you count the chairs Jillian Skinner is now counting as hospital beds, the Minister is falling well short of the 1,390 additional beds she promised to deliver by 2015.

“This has been independently verified by the NSW Auditor General.”