Health inquiry must look at state issues

18 Nov 2021

Hospital waiting room


The parliamentary inquiry into the problems in Queensland’s health care system must look at issues of State funding, not just areas of Commonwealth responsibility, AMA Queensland President Professor Chris Perry said.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath announced the Health and Environment Committee inquiry on 17 November, with a reporting date of 31 March 2022 and a focus on Medicare rebates, Commonwealth Distribution Priority Areas, and the availability of medical training places.

Prof Perry said he welcomed any review of the health system, but it had to look at the system as a whole.

“When I first heard it, I thought great, they’re listening,” Prof Perry told ABC Radio.

“But then I realised it was just a one-way street, and we weren’t looking at the issues involved with Queensland and the lack of funding there.”

The AMA Queensland submission to the inquiry will focus on the problems with State funding over the past 30 years, as well as Federal responsibilities.

“We know Australia is down about 6,500 beds for public hospitals, and that translates in Queensland to about 1,500 beds that need to be built,” he said.

“The State Government may want this inquiry just to be on Federal Government issues, which are considerable, but it will also bring to mind the shortfalls and where money needs to be spent in the State Government.

“Everybody knows about the waiting lists. It’s difficult for people to get in to see a specialist, it’s difficult to get in to accident and emergency, and you’re on a fairly long waiting list to have surgery.

“Our State Government spends much more on health care on a population basis than the national average, but we have lots of little hospitals in small to medium-sized cities and towns throughout the most decentralised state of the country.

“So it is more expensive here, but our services aren’t great by any means.”

AMA Queensland’s Ramping Roundtable is preparing to launch its action plan for resolving bed block and hospital log jams.

Published: 18 Nov 2021