Sick babies will have more intensive care beds in Melbourne, the state government has promised.
Five new neonatal intensive care unit cots will be funded in the May 6 state budget, taking the state’s capacity to 100 baby beds.
Health Minister David Davis said $4 million of capital funding would get the cots ready, with a further $5.6 million a year set aside to staff them.
“As well as newborns, this specialist equipment supports babies after surgery, infants requiring long-term ventilation and those suffering from seasonal illnesses such as bronchitis,” Mr Davis told reporters on Sunday.
He said the beds were most often used for babies who were born early and had complications from birth.
Mr Davis said Victoria handled the most difficult cases from Tasmania, South Australia and southern New South Wales.
“We do carry a larger-than-our-share load, but we do that willingly,” he said.
“We have very capable hospitals.”
The new cots will be installed at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, the Royal Women’s Hospital and Mercy Hospital for Women.
Mr Davis said they would be rolled out once negotiations with Victoria’s health services were complete.