Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says the sacking of 41 nurses as part of 234 jobs being cut from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service is a direct result of the $3 billion worth of health cuts being imposed across the state by the Newman Government.

“The fact is decisions by regional health boards are decisions of the Newman Government so it is the Premier and Health Minister who must carry the blame for a drop in frontline health services,” Mr Pitt said.

[singlepic id=463 w=320 h=240 float=left] “So it is very telling that no LNP MPs were present today when their government’s cuts to the regional health system were announced.

“As part of the framing of the 2012 State Budget the Health Minister Lawrence Springborg directed the state’s regional health boards to cut their budgets by 3% and make other savings totalling $3 billion over four years.

“It is misleading for the LNP to blame Canberra for the sackings announced today that are the direct result and the direct responsibility of the Newman Government.

“Mr Springborg is running around trying to suggest federal health funding cuts are to blame when the fact is federal health funds for Queensland will rise by 21% or $600 million over the next four years from $3.1 billion to $3.7 billion.

“It is time he stopped peddling untruths, stopped hiding behind the health boards and started taking responsibility as Minister for Health for today’s sackings and frontline service cuts.”

Mr Pitt said the loss of 190 full-time jobs and 44 temporary positions from hospitals and health facilities throughout the Cairns and Hinterland HHS would mean a drop in frontline health service standards.

“It is ridiculous for the LNP government to suggest the loss of 41 nurses plus 22 allied health positions such as pharmacists, physiotherapist, radiographers or dieticians will not hit hard at frontline services,” he said.

“The Premier promised in December no more job cuts and he also promised to maintain or improve frontline services.

“Today’s decision to cut 234 jobs breaks both of those promises,” Mr Pitt said.

He said the LNP cuts would hit services at health facilities throughout the region including:

  • Atherton Hospital
  • Atherton Primary Health Care Centre
  • Babinda Hospital
  • Cairns Base Hospital
  • Cairns North Community and Primary Prevention Service (CPPS)
  • Edmonton CPPS
  • Gordonvale Hospital
  • Innisfail Hospital
  • Innisfail CPPS
  • Jumbun CPPS
  • Mareeba Hospital
  • Mission Beach CPPS
  • Mossman Multi-Purpose Health Service
  • Smithfield CPPS
  • Tully CPPS
  • Yarrabah (Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service)

“These cuts are an ominous sign for the Cape York HHS and the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula HHS,” Mr Pitt said.

“Mr Springborg’s 3% cuts would mean a loss of $2 million for the Cape York HHS and $2.4 million for the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula HHS.

“Once again such savage Springborg cuts would mean a drop in frontline services in areas that confront unique challenges as a result of their proximity to PNG.”

Mr Pitt said over four years Mr Springborg was imposing $3 billion in cuts on regional health boards including:

  • staff cuts calculated an imposed by the Minister — $1.646 billion
  • scrapping of health grants by the Minister — $120 million
  • sacking of consultants, contractors and other administrative savings including travel calculated and imposed by the Minister —$283 million
  • “efficiency savings” calculated and imposed by the Minister — $944 million.