Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has criticised the Palaszczuk Government for failing to answer a simple question regarding the bed capacity of the Coast’s biggest public hospitals.
The public-private partnership agreement between the Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital (SCUPH) and Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital is set to come to an end this year and questions are now being raised about what will happen with the beds initially provided by the private sector for public patients.
"Under the plan, public patients had access to 110 beds at the private hospital but only until September 2018," Mr McArdle said.
Mr McArdle asked* Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles to outline the exact position of bed capacity at both the SCUPH and Nambour General Hospital (NGH), given the public-private-partnership is set to end.
"The Minister has clearly not answered** the question," Mr McArdle said.
"He has, however, admitted we’ve already lost 30 beds from the 110 provided as part of the agreement upon the opening of the SCUPH in 2017 and we are set to lose the balance of 80 beds in September this year.
"I asked the Minister; ‘How many overnight day, short-stay and emergency department beds will be at the SCPUH and NGH in July and December 2018 and July 2019?’
"We have a growing population but also are suffering from access block and ambulance ramping.
"The Minister didn’t answer the question except by a general statement that didn’t give any bed numbers.
"This failure highlights the incompetence of this Minister and the arrogance of this Labor Government.
"Sunshine Coast residents deserve better than this," concluded Mr McArdle.
Mr McArdle has called on the State Government to go back to the drawing board and answer the question again.
*Asked on 15 February 2018, Mr M McArdle Question on Notice
"With reference to the arrangement of the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital providing an equivalent of 110 of its beds to Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services to assist in treating public patients which comes to an end in mid-2018:
"Will the Minister advise as at the date of this question (a) how many (i) overnight beds, (ii) day beds, (iii) short stay beds and (iv) emergency department beds are located in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Nambour General Hospital with each bed type and hospital reported separately and (b) how many will exist in each hospital as at (i) 1 July 2018, (ii) 31 December 2018 and (iii) 1 July 2019 with each bed type and hospital reported separately.
**Hon Dr S Miles Answer:
"The agreement reached in 2010 and retained by consecutive governments between Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (HHS) and the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital (SCPUH) provided for an equivalent of 110 beds for the treatment of public patients. As part of this agreement, these beds were to reduce to 80 upon the opening of Sunshine Coast University Hospital, with the contract to cease on 21 September 2018 in line with additional planned bed capacity at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Nambour Hospital. It has always been planned that the services provided by SCUPH are to be transitioned back to Sunshine Coast HHS facilities.