Premier Anna Bligh spoke at length about health issues at a press conference yesterday after opening the WetSide complex.
Premier Anna Bligh spoke at length about health issues at a press conference yesterday after opening the WetSide complex.

Bligh to fight for health overhaul

THE URGENT message concerning the poor state of the local health system has finally got through to our State Government with Premier Anna Bligh putting her reputation on the line by saying she has the formula to fix it.

During her brief stop-over visit to open the WetSide water education park in Hervey Bay yesterday the premier unveiled key points of a major health reform plan she will be putting to a meeting of state premiers and the Prime Minister today.

Premier Bligh said there were five key areas she would like to see reformed.

At the top of the list is creating more aged care facilities and calling on the Federal Government for more health funding.

Ms Bligh recognised that a growing number of aged care patients in the region were clogging up hospitals.

She said there needed to be more aged care facilities in the Bay and it was worth looking into how many beds were available at Maryborough to see if they could be turned over to aged care.

Ms Bligh was also concerned about the number of people unnecessarily using emergency departments due to a lack of GPs available after hours and a lack of GPs bulk billing.

“I’m very conscious of the number of regional communities, like here on the Fraser Coast, that aren’t attracting specialists.

“The Prime Minister indicated he wants a complete overhaul of the health system in Australia. We’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get this right.”

Ms Bligh acknowledged the importance of more frontline staff in the state’s health system and also made brief comment on the Bundaberg dental clinic debacle by labelling it “frankly unacceptable”.

“Reforming the health and hospital system is not going to happen overnight. My number one priority is the dysfunctional aged care system and hospital system.”

During her visit Ms Bligh did not have time to chat with local MPs Ted Sorensen and Chris Foley about the state of the region’s hospitals.

CHRISTMAS COAG WISHLIST
  • At today’s COAG meeting in Brisbane the Queensland Government will push for:
  • The Commonwealth to fund all aged-care services regardless of where they are provided and all primary healthcare services
  • More all-hours GP services to alleviate the pressure on hospital emergency departments
  • An increase in clinical training places in the public and private systems
  • Incentives to attract and retain health staff in regional and remote areas
  • A new national body to focus on disease prevention


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