If senior bureaucrats from Queensland Health are right, Labor is gearing up to announce a south-side health clinic any day now.
LNP Candidate for Cairns Gavin King predicts it will be their plush election ploy to take the focus off everything that is wrong with Queensland Health.
“It is my understanding that Premier Anna Bligh will jet into Cairns early in the election campaign to announce Labor will commit to building a southside health facility after bowing to public pressure and a campaign by the Cairns Post,” Mr King said.
“Ms Bligh was forced to over-ride then Health Minister Paul Lucas and order an urgent review into the need for the southside facility following the debacle of the Labor Government’s handling of the response to Cyclone Yasi.
“Cairns mums were forced to give birth to their babies on a basketball court at Fretwell Park, a situation senior doctors at Cairns Base Hospital labelled ‘third world’.
“I just hope this predicted announcement is more than just a band-aid and a cheap political ploy to take the heat off Queensland Health.
“One-off construction money for a south-side facility would also need to be supported by recurrent operational funding.”
“I am suggesting that if Labor announces another shiny facility, our community must consider the additional resources needed to make the election gift meaningful.
“I do wonder however why they would suggest major investment in a new building when they are not adequately funding staff and services in existing health services in Cairns.
Mr King said that Queensland Labor has proven via its track record that it doesn’t value regional Queensland.
“In contrast, Campbell Newman is keenly focused on regional and remote areas and equitable service delivery.”
“We only have to look to Townsville to see the massive inequity in staffing at our two hospitals.
“It is important that our community understands the underachievement in health service delivery in Cairns and its enormous catchment.
“That message continues to be put across loud and clear by frontline staff at Cairns Base Hospital.
“We need to examine the fine print of Labor’s upcoming announcement and ask: does the new shiny toy come with batteries?”