Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher with Health Minister Steven Miles announcing plans to purchase the city's Mater Hospital.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher with Health Minister Steven Miles announcing plans to purchase the city's Mater Hospital.

Mater hospital to be leased to private company

QUEENSLAND Health will lease the Mater Hospital facilities to a private health company to manage services, says Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher.

Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister, Mr Butcher, said it was always the intention of the government when purchasing the Mater to have a private health company run the delivery of health services.

Mr Butcher said he had never assured anyone the Mater Hospital would be sold by the Queensland Government to a private health company.

“There have been groups like Ramsay that have shown interest in coming on and taking the opportunity to run the Mater,” Mr Butcher said.

“I have never ever told anyone that Ramsay’s are coming in and they are the private provider that will be going in there.

Mr Butcher said the plan from Health Minster Steven Miles was for Queensland Health to purchase the Mater, own the hospital, and get a private company to deliver health services.

He said there were no plans for Queensland Health to sell the Mater to a private health company.

“It will be part of the Central Queensland Health and Hospital system like the Gladstone Hospital is,” he said.

“Queensland Health are in negotiations with private providers to basically come in under CQHHS and rent out the space to run the hospital.

“Queensland Health will own the building and a private provider will come in and run the hospital like the Mater should have been doing, and hasn’t been doing for many, many years.

“They have run it into the ground and as we have seen over 12 months ago, they ran away from maternity services, so the CQHHS had to pick that up for people to have babies in Gladstone.

“Now they have stopped basically all the specialist services, other than the wonderful doctors like Doctor Schreiber and the others they have got there.”

Gladstone Mater Hospital.
Gladstone Mater Hospital.

The Mater hospital, Mr Butcher said, run under a private provider, would provide a range of surgical and specialist services.

“We want all the surgeons, the specialists, the oncology, the Dr Schreibers, the theatre spaces, available to those people to lease out like they do in Brisbane or anywhere in health,” he said.

“They rent a room, a space for the surgeries and they carry on as normal.

“That’s the plan for the Mater Hospital.

Meetings between CQHHS and local doctors for offers of part-time or full-time employment, Mr Butcher said, was how the Mater should have been working.

“That’s part of the arrangement for how things should have been working for 21 years,” he said.

“Because the number of patients coming through the private system in Gladstone isn’t enough, the deal was supposed to be, that they can have half of their patients come in a private capacity.

“The other side is the public hospital system would fill the void, to keep their surgeries up, to make it viable for them to be in Gladstone.

“That’s what the ideal situation for us is.

“We can have a private provider come in, who may want to employ the specialists for themselves.

“The other part of the deal, which is what I was excited about, is that any of those specialists they get in can also do work for the public system.”

Mr Butcher said he would be meeting with doctors and CQHHS executives over the weekend to provide more clarity on how the system would work into the future.

He said he was unable to answer questions at this stage about claims from doctors they would have to rent out rooms from CQHHS for $300 or more per procedure, at the Mater.

“I will come back to you with more information on Monday so we can ensure that the truth gets out there,” he said.

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