September 27th 2012
Hathaway on the future of Magnetic Island's Clinic
With ongoing concern over job cuts at Queensland Health, Magnetic Times has sought re-assurances from local member John Hathaway that the, heavily used, Magnetic Island Health Service Centre (the Clinic) would not be affected. Now he has responded.
Two weeks ago we put the following question to John Hathaway: With Queensland Health job cuts announced in the last week I am writing to ascertain if you expect further cuts to Queensland Health positions to occur in Townsville - and, in particular, whether the staffing at the Magnetic Island Health Service Centre (The Island Clinic) will be affected? Can you assure our readers that the current staffing and services on Magnetic Island will be maintained?
While, predictably, Campbell Newman's local member was quick to blame the Queensland Health job cuts to the former Bligh government, when it came to Magnetic Island's Clinic he said, "As I am advised there have not been nor are there planned to be any changes to the Magnetic Island Health Service (this has also been confirmed by my local enquiries on the ground and not through Q Health)."
It's probably just as well given that the number of outpatients presenting at the Clinic has, according to figures supplied by Queensland Health, increased by over 90% in the last five years.
In a prepared statement, Townsville Hospital's Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Andrew Johnson, told Magnetic Times, "Magnetic Island Health Services has seen an increase in outpatient occasions of service over the past five years while emergency attendances have remained fairly consistent.
"There were 3,665 outpatient attendances in the 2006-07 financial year and 6,987 for the 2010-11 financial year. There were 2,945 emergency presentations in 2006-07 and 2,752 in 2011-12.
"The service has two doctors (one full-time and one part-time), one full-time and four part- time nurses. Support staff includes three part-time administration officers, two part-time cleaners and a part-time gardener.
"There has been a slight increase in nursing and administration staff since 2006."
John Hathaway continued, "As part of the LNP’s contract with North Queensland, we promised to revitalise front line services for families. This means we are focussed on delivering quality health services for the people of North Queensland.
"You may be aware that Queensland Health currently consumes 25% of the State Governments revenue and its costs increase by approximately 5% per annum. If unchecked, that growth would consume the entire QLD Govt revenue in about 13-15 years. This is clearly not sustainable. To add to this, the Townsville Hospital Health Service like many other districts has over the last decade, have (sic) exceeded their budget. The Government requires all HHS boards to live within their means and in the case for Townsville to take measures to achieve efficiencies without impact to the delivery of frontline health services to NQLD. You should also note that QLD delivery of Health Services is about 11% more expensive than the National Efficiency Price average (for example Victoria is 20% below the NEP).
Story: George Hirst