Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt expressed outrage at the latest Queensland Health closure in Cairns by the Newman Government, this time the Medical Aid Subsidy Scheme office on Sheridan Street.

Letters mailed out to patients say the office will close on Friday 31 May.

Mr Pitt and Cairns Regional Councillor Rob Pyne – who has personally relied on the service for almost 20 years – have called on the Newman Government to explain the closure to the people of the region.

“The people of the Far North didn’t vote for Campbell Newman so he could shut down local health services,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme is an important program that supports patients who need access to things like hearing aids, walking frames, wheelchairs and other medical products.

“Clearly the LNP is centralising these services so they can sell them off to the private sector. That won’t make it easier for patients to access these services, it’ll make it harder.

“How many jobs will be lost and how will these services be provided in the meantime?

“The last thing we need in the far North is the ‘Americanisation’ of our health system.

“This Government’s ‘outsourcing’ agenda is just privatisation by stealth, and it’s clear that everything’s on the table.

“Gavin King and the other LNP MPs have a lot of explaining to do. How can they stand by while this crucial service is closed and patients are shunted off to Brisbane?”

Cr Pyne said the closure of the Cairns office would hit local patients hard.

“I’ve personally relied on this service for almost 20 years, and the professionalism and support provided by local staff has always been a big help,” Cr Pyne said.

“It makes no sense to send locals to Brisbane to get the same support and services they can get here.

“It’s sad that these kinds of services are being closed down in Cairns at the same time that the LNP Government has three local members who are supposed to be representing our interests.

“I’d call on the LNP to change their minds and leave this service open – and to leave other health services alone too.”