State budget's small plug fails to fill hospital black hole
THE Palaszczuk Government has put $193.5 million in the State Budget towards plugging a $1 billion black hole in funding for the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital.
A press release from Health Minister Cameron Dick announced the funding yesterday but made no mention of the shortfall in operational costs which he said in May had not been addressed by the previous government.
Even shadow health minister and Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle said the Labor government's budgeting for the hospital was "the same" as what the LNP would have allocated if still in power.
The shortfall did not go unnoticed by Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson who said the "funding for the hospital remains a concern in our view."
The $193.5 million announced in the State Budget yesterday will go towards building up services such as paediatrics, maternity, neonatology, mental health and rehabilitation services at Nambour General and Caloundra hospitals in preparation for transfer to the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital due to open in November 2016.
The money will also go towards planning and the establishment of tertiary services such as cardiac surgery and neurosurgery at the SCPUH in 2017-18.
But Mr Jamieson noted no money had been set aside for operating costs, which he estimated at $700 million.
"We're not sure where that's coming from," he said.
Mr Dick said the State Government was taking a "phased approach to implementation" and the hospital would open with "limited" but "appropriate" services.
"We will then continue to work towards bringing more clinically complex services online over time," he said.
Sunshine Coast University Hospital Action Group leader Maureen Mileham said she was glad some money had been allocated to the hospital.
"I don't expect everything from day one but every system should come into place in the next few years."