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Australia Qld govt denies funding cuts to hospitals

01:57  30 november  2021
01:57  30 november  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Queensland's health minister says every public hospital has had its funding increased, after the Liberal National Party warned that efficiency dividends were hitting the frontline.

Queensland's health minister says funding to hospital and health services increased by $660 million © Darren England/AAP PHOTOS Queensland's health minister says funding to hospital and health services increased by $660 million

LNP leader David Crisafulli says hospital and health services (HHSs) have been forced to find efficiency dividends every year for the past four years totalling $405 million.

He seized on data provided by Health Minister Yvette D'Ath in response to his question on notice in parliament on Tuesday.

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It shows in the current financial year Brisbane's Metro South has to find savings of $17 million, the Gold Coast has to save $15 million and the Sunshine Coast must find $14 million.

Mr Crisafulli says the efficiency measures are mainly hitting frontline health workers and Queenslanders in the middle of the pandemic.

"Our health system is in crisis and with one hand the state government is pointing and blaming everyone else, and with the other it's taking a knife to the Queensland Health frontline," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our frontline staff are scrambling to hold our hospitals together and are being badly let down by a state government that is incapable of fixing the culture of Queensland Health."

However, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said funds being saved are not being taken out of the health system and every HHS had has its budget increased this financial year.

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She said overall funding to hospital and health services had increased by $660 million, or 4.1 per cent, to $16.7 billion in the 2021/22 financial year.

"Every HHS has had an increase to its budget in 2021-22," Ms D'Ath told AAP in a statement on Tuesday.

"There is no withdrawal of funding from the health care system due to the efficiency dividend."

The figures provided by Ms D'Ath show that efficiency dividends for most hospital and health services in Queensland have halved between 2019/20 and 2021/22 with the biggest sizeable drop in 2020/21.

Overall, efficiency dividends have totalled $406 million in the past three years.

The funding debate comes after a government report earlier this month showed more than 30,000 Queenslanders in an imminently life-threatening condition were not seen within 10 minutes of arriving at a hospital last quarter.

The statistics show 34 per cent of the 89,684 people in imminently life-threatening condition weren't seen by a doctor or nurse within the clinically recommended time frame in the September quarter.

About 80,000, or one in three Queenslanders in a potentially life-threatening condition were not seen within the recommended 30 minutes, according to the data released on Friday.

Mr D'Ath blamed the poor emergency waiting times on unprecedented demand that was rising faster than population growth.

More than 628,700 people presented to emergency departments in the September quarter, a 7.0 per cent rise over the previous quarter.

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