Kids bear brunt of state health cuts
THE Queensland Government cut $10.6 million in funds from children's health last year at the same time it embarked on a costly plan to change the name of Lady Cilento Hospital.
But the hospital banked a $16.3 million increase in federal funding, fuelling complaints from Canberra that the State Government was using the cover of national payments to disguise its own cuts.
Children's Health was one of six health and hospital services to see state funding cut in the past financial year, new data from the independent Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool reveals.
Federal funding, which is allocated based on treatments provided to patients, increased for every service in the state - including six that lost money from the state.
Metro South took the largest hit in dollar terms, with $39.2 million sliced from its state funding last year while federal payments increased by $83.5 million.
Cairns and Hinterland, Central Queensland, Mackay and Wide Bay also received lower state funding in 2017-18 compared to the previous year.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the figures disproved Queensland's complaints it had been ripped off by the Commonwealth.
"It is most concerning that the Queensland Government has ripped out more than $10 million from the Queensland Children's Hospital, which treats some of the sickest children in Queensland," Mr Hunt said.
"Steven Miles should prioritise the health of children in Queensland instead of wasting money on rebranding the hospital."
Mr Miles last month announced a $500,000 plan to rename Lady Cilento as the Queensland Children's Hospital.
But Mr Miles said the data did not compare like with like because some payments were shifted from activity funding measured by the national figures to block funding last year.
He also said the federal figures were inflated last year because of late payments due as far back as 2014.
"Funding from the Queensland Government has increased year-on-year since we came to government in 2015," Mr Miles said.
"Greg Hunt knows this and is just playing politics, trying to distract from the fact his government is ripping $156 million from Queensland hospitals."
In total, federal funding to Queensland public hospitals rose by $403 million or 12 per cent while state funding grew by $247.8 million or 4.5 per cent.
State funding is larger, reaching almost $5.8 billion last year but Commonwealth funding is growing faster and was close to $3.8 billion for Queensland.
Federal MP Andrew Laming, whose electorate of Bowman is served by Metro South and includes Redland Hospital, said the cut was "the single largest threat to health care" in the region.