Health Minister Steven Miles. He was critical of the Burnett MP’s statement about potential job losses in the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, and said there were no sackings. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Health Minister Steven Miles. He was critical of the Burnett MP’s statement about potential job losses in the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, and said there were no sackings. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

Health Minister denies job losses for health service

THE filling of the chief executive position at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is expected to be announced "in the very near future".

The position has been held in an acting capacity by Deborah Carroll, following the termination of former CEO Adrian Pennington last September.

A Queensland Health spokesperson praised her commitment during the pandemic and confirmed this week there would be a looming announcement.

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett submitted questions to Health Minister Steven Miles in state parliament on Tuesday about the fulfilment of the position, as well as the state of the health service's finances since last September.

He believed the health service's budget was at a deficit of up to $10 million, and had been tipped-off on job losses.

Mr Bennett said he was informed by a "whistleblower" that job losses were in temporary and casual positions.

Mr Miles has 30 days to respond to the questions, but he did explain to the NewsMail that the government would not underfund healthcare.

He said that since 2015 the government had hired an extra 430 health staff, which included 172 nurses and midwives, and 50 doctors.

"Staff are not being sacked and I'm absolutely appalled that this is what Stephen Bennett says during a pandemic when there are already thousands of people out of work," Mr Miles said.

"Our health services across Queensland have done a fantastic job getting ready for and responding to COVID-19.

"It's much because of them that we are not seeing thousands of people getting sick and hundreds of people dying."

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said there were "a number of complexities and variables" that influence budgets at the end of financial years, but that figures will be shown in the release of its annual report later in the year.



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