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It's time for Mr Beattie to put Queensland patients first.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

August 25, 2003


Mr Beattie is up to his old tricks again.

He is trying to blame everybody else for his failure to run his State hospitals properly.

In the latest of a series of misleading advertisements, Mr Beattie claims in the Weekend Bulletin that the Gold Coast Hospital's emergency department is full of non-emergency patients who cannot access GPs because of a fall in bulk billing.

This is wrong.

Mr Beattie has tried to make such claims before about Queensland hospital emergency departments.

The Australian Medical Association's Queensland President, Ingrid Tall, recently rejected Mr Beattie's attempts to deflect the blame, saying that it was a problem of a lack of hospital beds. "This is not a problem with GPs, Medicare rebates or after-hours co-payments," she said.

Recently, the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine President, Dr Ian Knox, was quoted in the Courier Mail saying overcrowding in State hospital emergency departments had nothing to do with GP-type patients and everything to do with a lack of beds.

It is time for Mr Beattie to face up to his responsibilities and put Queensland patients first.

Queensland stands to gain an extra $2.1 billion for its hospitals under the new record funding agreement.

Queensland will receive $8 billion over the next five years for its hospitals. That is a massive 20% over and above inflation over the previous hospital funding agreement.

Premier Beattie claims that Queenslanders are losing $160 million. How can an extra $2.1 billion be a loss? Lousy maths, Mr Beattie.

Come clean, Mr Beattie. Stop playing politics.

Sign-up to the Commonwealth's record hospital funding deal and match our rate of growth so all Queenlanders can have confidence that their hospitals are being properly funded.

Even if Mr Beattie does not do the right thing by his patients and sign-up, Queenslanders will still get more money. If the Premier continues to play politics and does not sign the agreement, Queensland gets an extra $1.24 billion.

For more information contact Randal Markey, Media Adviser, (02) 62777200