Vic Labor pledge $300m for ambos, hospital

·2-min read

Dozens of specialist paramedics will be hired to treat Victorians at home and a regional hospital further redeveloped under Labor state election promises.

Under a new "Doing What Matters" election slogan, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged to spend $20 million over four years to set up a network of 25 paramedic practitioners if his government is re-elected in November.

The initiative has been billed as an Australian first and Mr Andrews said the new role would differ from traditional "lights and sirens" paramedics.

"They'll travel to people to keep them out of hospital," the premier told reporters at Wonthaggi Hospital on Thursday.

"They'll travel to their home or a primary care setting, whether it be in a chronic disease context or palliative care context, and they'll provide care, not transport."

The specialist paramedics would be trained to assess and diagnose patients in the field, easing pressure on emergency departments strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They will work alone, be focused on rural and regional areas and react to emergencies when available.

"It gives the opportunity to have that treatment brought to them and then those crews can stay in those areas," Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said.

Mr Hill warns it could take a few years for the first paramedic practitioners to hit the road, given they will first need to complete a master's degree.

In addition, Mr Andrews announced Labor would invest up to $290 million for a second stage of redevelopment at Wonthaggi Hospital as initial works near completion.

The next lot of upgrades, due to be completed by 2027, would add an extra 64 beds across two additional wards at the hospital in Victoria's South Gippsland region.

Three extra birthing suites would also be set up, along with a new outpatient clinic for patients needing dialysis, chemotherapy and other specialist treatments.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said Mr Andrews has failed to deliver 2018 state election promises to build new hospitals in Melton and Barwon.

"It's just more spin, it's more lies at two minutes to midnight just before an election from a desperate premier," he said in Mansfield.

"Today's promise by the premier in Wonthaggi will not happen. It'll never eventuate if he's re-elected."

In a coalition counter-pledge, Mr Guy promised to redevelop the Mansfield District Hospital in the state's north with cash redirected from shelving Labor's multi-billion dollar Suburban Rail Loop.

The opposition in June committed to building a new hospital in Warragul, about an hour's drive north of Wonthaggi.

The Victorian Greens are also spruiking a plan to spend $1.3 billion over the next eight years on extra nursing home, rehab and geriatric beds.