Queensland calls for increased public health funding in upcoming federal budget



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The Queensland government is calling on the Morrison government to commit to a 50-50 public health funding model in this week’s federal budget.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the state government currently covers 55 percent of the cost of managing public health facilities.

The additional funding, estimated at $1.5 billion a year, would go toward more beds, frontline staff and services.

Ms D’Ath said more people are turning to public hospitals because of a lack of affordable GPs who pay bulk bills, especially in regional areas, and rising private health costs.

“All states and territories, regardless of political affiliation, have appealed to the Morrison government and demand a fair distribution of funding of 50-50,” she said.

“We have no control over demand growth because [of] failures in primary and allied health care and the Medicare system.

“Even those who spend money on private health insurance still turn to the public health system because the services are not available or the private hospitals are not providing the services in the regions they should. [be]†

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“We know that COVID will continue to put pressure on our health system for the foreseeable future and the Commonwealth is on its hands.

“It hasn’t done anything in this space and it’s about time they gave their fair share.”

On Sunday, 264 people were in public hospitals in Queensland with COVID, with the state recording one death and 7,738 new cases.

Ms D’Ath expected the Prime Minister to throw money at hospital equipment ahead of federal elections in the coming weeks, but said it would be a superficial form of funding.

“Don’t be confused about real long-term health funding versus one-off hits for equipment that we then have to fund for the infrastructure to house that equipment and the operational stuff to use it.”

600 people in public hospitals who don’t have to be

Treasurer Cameron Dick said if the federal government agreed to the proposal, it would amount to $1.5 billion a year.

“We don’t see that as a significant investment as they have announced $70 billion in additional government funding since December,” said Mr. Dick.

“We’re happy to be working with the federal government on how to get there, but let’s take that action on Tuesday in this budget so that the people of Queensland know they’re getting the best health care possible.”

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick joined Mrs D’Ath at the press conference.AAP: Glenn Hunt

Mr Dick said specialist costs are beyond the reach of many Queensland residents, as is private health care.

One of the “fastest and quickest things” to do is to move people who live in hospitals and who should be in retirement homes or disabled care facilities.

It is estimated that 600 people are in public hospitals who do not need medical care, but cannot get a placement.

“That’s the system that the federal government is primarily responsible for,” Dick said.

“We are working together in this country to deliver public health care… but the missing ingredient, the missing money, is the money that should come out of Canberra.”

The ABC has contacted the office of federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg for comment.

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