Taking the Public Health out of our public Health Service

The Queensland Greens described the LNP’s health budget measures as “confused, adding to uncertainty about the future of our health service, and above all, unlikely to improve the health of Queenslanders”.   Responding to the Government’s focus on hospital projects while cutting  over 4,100 health positions, Queensland Greens spokesperson Dr. Charles Worringham said that the LNP budget misses the target on several counts.  

 “For a Government that’s talked up cost-effectiveness, this package ignores what health economists around the world agree on – the biggest gains to health and the health budget come from consistent, long-term and strategic health promotion tackling chronic disease - exactly the areas the LNP are now dismantling across the state – cutting entire units responsible for such programs.”  

 “It’s ironic that this budget is handed down on the same day that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports on the nation’s success in cutting rates of smoking.   Strong public health initiatives can be extremely effective if they are serious and sustained.  While the new Sunshine Coast hospital and other projects are welcome in themselves, wholesale firing of staff responsible for tackling unhealthy nutrition, physical inactivity, poor mental health and drug abuse across Queensland will just increase the burden of preventable chronic disease on those same hospitals.”

 “By making public health pay for hospital initiatives the LNP breaks its own election commitment to invest in chronic disease health and awareness campaigns,  ignores the National Preventative Health Taskforce recommendations,  and  tips the scales even further towards the most expensive end of the health care spectrum.  Regrettably, more Queenslanders are likely to end up living with long-term chronic health problems as a consequence.   What a contrast to the $5 billion investment 

in dental health the Greens have achieved nationally through the Denticare scheme.”

 “It’s also of great concern that so many experienced health service staff are being lost just as a major reorganisation of health gets underway.  Apart from the direct effects on the thousands of retrenched staff – nurses, nutritionists, and experienced health managers amongst them -  this will add to the complexity of delivering quality services through 17 brand new Hospital and Health Boards.”

Contact:
Dr. Charles Worringham
Spokesperson, Queensland Greens
0408 634 486
charles.worringham@qld.greens.org.au