Bundaberg Hospital budget increases by $23 million in the past year.
Bundaberg Hospital budget increases by $23 million in the past year.

Hospital budget revealed

THE Bundaberg Hospital budget has increased by $23 million in the past year, according to figures leaked to the NewsMail yesterday.

The NewsMail has been trying to obtain the hospital’s budget since mid-February, when it was revealed the facility was running a large deficit.

The figures provided by a source show the budget for the hospital for the 2010/11 financial year was $136 million, but for the current financial year it has risen to $159 million – a rise of about 17%.

Queensland Health would not confirm those figures, but the NewsMail understands the budget is spoken about openly during staff forums at the hospital.

The budget for the entire health service district was made available to the NewsMail on Tuesday – the first time the information had been released.

This is despite health services in states such as NSW making their hospital budgets available online.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said Queensland Health’s refusal to release or confirm the figures was not surprising.

“This will put the focus on the openness and transparency that this State Government lacks,” he said.

Mr Dempsey said the hospital would be able to reduce costs by hiring more permanent staff and reducing the number of locums.

“It’s four times the cost to have a locum here than it is for permanent staff,” he said.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said he had suspected the budget was at about that level, but thought it needed to be doubled.

“We need around 300 beds to properly look after this area,” he said.

“We will need a serious debate about building a new hospital.”

Wide Bay Health Service District chief executive Ken Whelan said the district had received a funding boost in the past financial year and district funding had grown steadily for the past two years.

“Senior clinical staff and management on the executive of Bundaberg Hospital work closely with clinical staff in each department in setting and overseeing budgets, ensuring that funds are targeted at the most important health care needs of the Bundaberg community.”



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