Together members have reported to their union and their management that healthcare is in crisis. It is a crisis not caused by Covid-19, but one exacerbated by the pandemic. It is a crisis caused by under-investment and cost cutting that goes back over 10 years. The worst cuts occurred under the Newman government, but their legacy continues to scar Queensland Health.
Together members have been speaking out about the Health crisis consistently – in 2021 we campaigned with the QNMU, UWU and the ETU to raise concerns around the staffing and bed crisis.
Members put together a clear policy paper on what needed to be done to fix this crisis and throughout the Federal Budget and Federal Election we kept issues of healthcare central – staffing, funding and services.
The Queensland Budget 2022
Before the budget, we wrote to the Queensland Government – the Premier, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Health Minister, calling for a workforce plan and accountability for health services as well as investment in new public hospital beds.
Together members called on the Queensland Government to act immediately, and when we wrote to the government we called for :
- A five year plan, with work beginning in the next 3-6 months, to build and invest in significant new beds and hospitals, to be publicly owned and operated, and bring our hospitals up to the acceptable minimum standards of safety for bed numbers and occupancy.
- A five year plan, with work beginning in the next 3-6 months, to increase the health workforce (a workforce plan/strategy), through recruiting and training more doctors, allied health professionals, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and other key health workers and support staff, to manage current demand and staff and operate the additional beds and facilities as they come on line.
- Clear, transparent and consultative mechanisms for the creation and implementation of these plans. Every Queenslander needs good public health services, and the variances of any particular local Hospital and Health Executive & Board should not impede the implementation of either the new builds, new beds, or workforce planning.
Together welcomes the increase in funding for public hospitals in the Queensland Budget 2022. Our members have communicated clearly to the government and the public that there are simply not enough beds in Queensland – particularly publicly owned, publicly run, public hospital beds. It is vital to accompany this important investment with a plan for staff, and a plan for accountability of health services.
Alex Scott spoke to the media following the budget to address this:
Together members are passionate about delivering health care and good public services. We are continuing to push for a plan for health workers: this crisis is being felt every day by workers on the ground in our hospitals