Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the PET scanner Health Minister Lawrence Springborg had promised Cairns had still not arrived, despite his claims in Parliament that he had ‘delivered’ for the region.
A positron emission tomography (PET) scanner is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that is largely used to explore the possibility of cancer metastasis, that is, spreading to other sites.
“The Health Minister has either misled Parliament and Far North Queensland or he has no clue about what is going on in his department,” Mr Pitt said.
“Lawrence Springborg has had a horror run as Health Minister, with his woeful handling of the crisis over senior doctor contracts that he created case in point.
“It’s not surprising it’s taken him so long to begin backing down from his ridiculous position on doctors’ contracts, given he hasn’t even been able to deliver a PET scanner he promised to Cairns Hospital.
“Mr Springborg attempted to placate local opposition to the vicious job cuts he inflicted on our local health system by committing to the new scanner, but I’m told it’s yet to arrive.
“His visit to Cairns yesterday gave him the opportunity to explain the delay but I’m not aware any such statement was provided, nor a timeframe for delivery.
“This is in stark contrast to his comments in Parliament two weeks ago, when he said:
‘In discussions with the Newman government, the service has been able to deliver a new PET scanner that will ensure a state-of-the-art service is run out of that hospital redevelopment.’
“Mr Springborg needs to be upfront with the people of Cairns. Is his Government funding and delivering this machine, or is he forcing the local health service to cut more staff and services so they can pay for it?
“Is the delay due to his plans to sell off all hospital medical-imaging services so that private operators can put profits before patients.
“Or has he been too busy figuring out how he’ll sell off public land at Edmonton which was secured by the former government for a future hospital facility?”
Mr Pitt said the LNP Member for Cairns, Gavin King, should stop parroting the lines from political headquarters in Brisbane and actually stand up for the best interests of the region.
“In the face of massive health job cuts in the Far North, Mr King was touting the new PET scanner as a sign of the LNP’s commitment to health.
“It’s no surprise that that promise has proven false, as have so many other Gavin King promises for Cairns.
“It was Labor in government that increased the number of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals by more than 50% over six years, not to mention the redevelopment of Cairns Hospital and a raft of other achievements, including a CT scanner for Innisfail and Atherton.
“Mr Springborg and Mr King need to tell the people of Cairns today exactly when the PET scanner will arrive and how many cuts they’re making to the local health service in order to pay for it.”