Health chairman says forced redundancies not planned

Chair Charles Ware at the CQHHS board meeting.
Chair Charles Ware at the CQHHS board meeting. Kara Irving

WHILE Central Queenslanders brace themselves for cuts to their hospital network, a blame game is underway between state and federal politicians.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Board chairman Charles Ware last week wrote to staff, inviting expressions of interest for voluntary redundancies.

The move triggered fears from unions and community members that the board was planning staff cuts.

However, Mr Ware told The Observer the board had no intention of forcing redundancies.

"That is definitely not the intention of the board," Mr Ware said.

"This process is a way of gauging interest from any staff willing to take a voluntary redundancy and working with individual units throughout the hospital and health service to determine whether that is possible."

Mr Ware said no set number of jobs was being targeted and it was unknown if jobs would go from Gladstone.

He said it was possible to reduce staff numbers without reducing quality of service.

"It is absolutely essential we continually review our service to identify ways of working more efficiently and effectively. Staff redundancies will not be offered at the expense of patient care."

Meanwhile, the Federal Government rejected claims by the Queensland Government that it had cut funding for hospitals in Queensland.

The Queensland Government recently said the Federal Government had cut $103 million from the funding and Central Queensland's share would be $4.8 million.

Acting Federal Minister for Health Mark Butcher on Thursday accused Campbell Newman of a "misinformation campaign" about the numbers.

"The (Federal) Government is increasing health funding to Queensland by 21% over the next four years, going from $3.1 billion in 2012-2013 to $3.7 billion in 2015-16," Mr Butcher said.

"That's an extra $600 million."

He accused the Premier of trying to distract attention from his own job cuts.

"The Federal Labor Government is fully supportive of the grassroots campaign to save Moura Hospital and commends the Central Highlands community for coming together to stand up against attempts to shut down the hospital," Mr Butcher said.

"It is extremely disappointing that the Deputy Premier and Member for Biloela Jeff Seeney has again chosen to turn his back on regional Queensland and aggressively attack the grassroots community campaign to save the Moura Hospital.

"The misinformation campaign by the Newman Government and Coalition MPs about health funding to local hospitals is an attempt to distract from the fact Premier Newman sacked 4140 health workers, and cut funding for services such as breast screening and preventative health programs across regional Queensland," Mr Butcher said.

The Acting Health Minister said the people of Moura and the Central highlands region deserved access to quality healthcare that wasn't hours away.

He said the Federal Government feared the closure of Moura Hospital would have major repercussions for the local community, particularly for people working in the mines.  

Numbers game

  • The State Government says $103million has been cut by Canberra. CQHHS's share is $4.8million.

Topics:  redundancies staff cuts

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