Far North Queensland and other regional communities are set to suffer more cuts to hospital and health services under the Newman Government once the 7 September federal election is over, says Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller.
“The next jobs likely to go as the Newman Government Americanises our health system will be at Cairns Hospital, Atherton Hospital, and Thursday Island Hospital through the privatisation of pathology services,” Mrs Miller said.
“Pathology Queensland within Queensland Health operates laboratories at each of those FNQ hospitals as part of a network of 32 laboratories across the state.
“Pathology services are in line for privatisation along with every other hospital and health services, and that means job cuts are in the pipeline too.
“So far in 2013 Pathology Queensland has cut 105 jobs out of a total of 1,500 but as the Newman Government starts its privatisation push more jobs will be going in regional Queensland including the Far North.”
Mrs Miller said LNP local MPs such as the Member for Cairns, Gavin King: Member for Barron River, Michael Trout; and Member for Cook, David Kempton were notorious for sitting in silence as their government cut regional jobs.
“They always sit in silence as their own government axes local jobs and frontline services and puts local and regional economies to sleep.”
Mrs Miller said in the last sitting of State Parliament the Premier indicated his willingness to walk away from basic primary health care services when he said: “…..let us be very clear: the responsibility of the state government is not primary health care….”
“That statement by the Premier means the list of primary health care services now delivered by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service; the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula HHS; and the Cape York HHS are at risk,” she said.
“Private providers will put profits before patients. That approach means more job losses and the downgrading of services, hours of operation for some services, or the possibility of co-payments for some services or supplies.
“Loss of jobs and services in our currently free public hospital system would be compounded if a future federal government led by Tony Abbott gets it way and scraps the Medicare Local system.
“The Americanisation of our state health system by the Newman Government would be copied by an Abbott government and would put basic health care beyond the reach of average Queenslanders,” Mrs Miller said
Primary health, community services and public health services are specified in every Service Agreement with the government’s 17 Hospital and Health Services. Across the 17 agreements these services include:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Aged Care and Rehabilitation (Aged Care Assessment Team, Transition Care and Dementia)
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Services
Ante natal and Post natal care, including parenting support
Infant, Child and Family Health
Chronic Disease Management
Home and Community Care
Homeless Health Outreach Service
Hospital in the Home
Preventative Health Programs
Primary Health and Care Coordination
Residential Care services
Sexual Assault Program
Transition Care Program
Pathology Queensland currently operates laboratories at hospitals in:
Prince Charles Laboratory
Princess Alexandra Laboratory
QE II Hospital
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Thursday Island Laboratory