PM, Qld govt in hospital funding row



Scott Morrison has ignited a stoush over hospital funding in Queensland on the election campaign trail in the far north.

Queensland Ambulance Service figures this week show patient ramping has been steadily rising, particularly in the southeast.

The state government blames COVID-19 and inadequate federal investment and wants the Commonwealth to cover half its health funding, rather than the current 45 per cent.

The prime minister says federal health funding for Queensland will rise by $1.2 billion next financial year.

“What we have provided in hospital payments here to the Queensland government … sees health costs rise from $6.4 billion in the current year, and that’s going to $7.6 billion in 2025-2026,” Mr Morrison told reporters Thursday.

“This is a major significant increase in what we’re putting into hospitals … we’ve got record investments going into hospitals from the federal government all around the country.”

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick attacked Mr Morrison’s comment as misleading, saying health funding was cut in the federal budget.

“What did we see in the last budget – a $21 million cut from public health in Queensland … and then they promised to cut another $176 million more,” Mr Dick told reporters in Brisbane.

“That is scandalous when we see the pressure on public health care in this country.”

Figures released earlier this week showed almost half of all patients had to wait more than 30 minutes before being admitted to hospitals in the southeast in December.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said rising ramping and emergency department waiting times were deeply concerning, but the system faced complex challenges.

She said it was vital the next federal government committed to splitting health funding 50-50, with states currently covering 55 per cent.

“There’s nothing more important than families getting good access to health care,” the premier said.

However, federal coalition MP Warren Entsch said the capacity problems were the fault of the state, which controlled how the cash was spent.

He said there should be a review of Queensland Health’s management of its budget and staffing levels.

“There’s more (staff) in hospital state government bureaucracies, Queensland Health bureaucracy, than there are actually health professionals working on the ground,” the Leichhardt MP told reporters.

“That’s a question you’re going to have to ask the state government.

“We don’t actually own the hospitals, we don’t employ the staff, that’s something that the state government does.”


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