A Shorten Labor Government will deliver better emergency care for the people of Cairns by investing in a major redevelopment of the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department.
A recent review of the hospital called for a number of high priority improvements to the emergency department while a more substantial expansion is planned.
Labor will invest $15 million to deliver these improvements as part of our Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
This commitment comes on top of our promise to put $60 million towards a new dedicated training facility at Cairns Hospital, which will help attract and retain health workers in Far North Queensland.
The new facility will help address the critical health workforce shortage that risks undermining the quality of health care in this region.
But that is a longer-term project.
The Emergency Department redevelopment is something we can deliver in the next 12 to 24 months – delivering tangible health benefits to this community.
The redevelopment will improve safety for patients and staff alike and bring down wait times.
It will include:
- An increase in adult short stay capacity from 8 to 16 adult beds
- A 4-bed pediatric short stay unit
- Improvements to resuscitation bays and trauma treatment spaces
- Front of house improvements to provide dedicated space for ambulance offload
- And better telehealth facilities.
Population growth has made Cairns Hospital Emergency Department one of the busiest in Queensland, with activity going up by 4 per cent each year. In 2017-18 the number of presentations exceeded 70,000 for the first time.
That’s why we have to invest now in this hospital.
Labor believes Australian should get the best quality health care whenever they need it – no matter if you live in downtown Brisbane or Far North Queensland.
That’s why the last federal Labor Government invested $12m in Cairns Hospital through our Health and Hospitals Fund.
The Liberals on the other hand just cut and cut and cut from health. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he authored.
His government has cut $7.2 million from Cairns Hospital under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement.
That’s equivalent to 20 nurses, or 11,000 emergency department visits, or 17,500 outpatient appointments. And it’s part of a $160m cut to Queensland hospitals and a $715m cut nationwide.
Now Morrison is trying to lock in those cuts for another five years – a dud deal that the Queensland Labor Government is resisting.
Labor will reverse the Liberal cuts with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, which we will use to fund projects like this one.
Only Labor can be trusted to fix Queensland’s hospitals.
TUESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2018