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Queensland health #3 « Previous | |Next »
January 17, 2006

The emergency department in Queensland's Caboolture hospital on Brisbane's northern outskirts has been closed. The reason? A statewide doctor shortage.

Unsuprisingly, the Beattie state Labor government denied the closure up to the very end; then the Health Minister shifted the blame to his health department for providing him with incorrect information. Canberra is then blamed for the doctor shortages in the state. Where then is the Minister's responsibility in all of this?


Closure of the hospital's emergency department spells tragedy for road accident victims and others requiring emergency treatment in the area. They have to be transported to other hospitals or flicked over to the local GP's. Crisis situations and newspaper headlines then give rise to stop-gap policy on the run.

It will happen again at another hospital across the state. The problem is systematic as the doctor shortage in the State’s hospitals are the culmination of many years of staffing difficulties, due to the failure of government (both Federal and State) to train, employ and retain doctors to support Queensland’s burgeoning population. So doctor numbers are simply too low to meet patient demand. Around 20 public hospitals in Queensland have been affected by shortages that have centred on emergency and maternity departments.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:43 AM | | Comments (2)


My life has been destroyed by doctors who just don`t have enough integrity to do the right thing!Government departments that are mean`t to keep the system flowing ,do so by passing the complaints into the rubbish bin.The latest inquiry never had the terms of reference to cover the issues affecting most of the state.The smart state! I THINK NOT!!!

I'm sorry to hear that.

Your experience shows that self-regulation by the medical profession is a failure;and that the state bureaucracy sopends its energy covering its tracks rather than dealing with problem by taking complaints about bad medical treatment seriously.

The politicians just manage the problem day-to-day because they are ruled by their state Treasury departments.

The Australian Medical Association has fought independent nursing roles tooth and nail despite there being an acknowledged shortage of doctors.

The AMA claims that substituting other health workers for doctors would merely create "inferior care". Proposals to replace doctors with lesser-trained and lower-skilled health workers are unacceptable to the AMA.

There you have the AMA as part of the problem. Many services now provided by doctors could equally well be provided by other health professionals without diminishing quality or safety.