SICK HOSPITAL: Assistant to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath visited the Kingaroy Hospital last week.
SICK HOSPITAL: Assistant to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath visited the Kingaroy Hospital last week. Rhiannon Tuffield

Hospital and healthcare debate ignites discussion

MINISTER for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick has responded to criticism from Senator James McGrath, who visited the Kingaroy Hospital last week.

The dire state of the South Burnett's Health services was brought to the fore when the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister was taken on a tour of the Kingaroy public hospital.

After seeing the state of the facility, Mr McGrath said the hospital was in need of an upgrade but said it was a responsibility of the State Government.

"Going around the buildings, they're old and I think the only thing that's holding them together is the love and care of the doctors and nurses and allied health professionals," he said.

"It's in a functioning state, but it certainly needs a lot of money to be spent on it to bring it up to a modern standard or they need a new hospital."

Mr McGrath was invited to the region by councillor Damien Tessmann, who said Mr McGrath was in a good position to advocate for the region.

He said hospitals throughout Queensland had suffered through decades of underinvestment and the State Government had a long battle ahead of it.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick responded to the criticism.

"The number one action Mr McGrath can take to stand up for Queensland's health services is to ensure the $11.8 billion in public hospital funding that the Federal Government plans to slash from our state's health system is restored," he said.

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service stands to lose $649 million as part of the cuts from 2017-2024.

"If Mr McGrath is not willing to have that fight for funding for Queensland with Malcolm Turnbull, then any comments he makes regarding the state of Kingaroy's health services should be seen for what they are - playing politics with healthcare," Mr Dick said.

"Regrettably, the state LNP Government had three years and three budgets to deliver a better hospital for Kingaroy and they chose to do nothing.

"The Department of Health will continue to work with the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service on delivering better health outcomes and frontline services."

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