Qld govt wants health funding restructure

·2-min read

The Queensland government has called for a restructure of federal healthcare funding to help relieve pressure on the state's health system.

Surging demand for hospital beds has caused a spike in ambulance ramping in Queensland in recent months.

Ramping is when patients are treated in ambulances on hospital driveways until beds become available.

More than 1.39 million people presented at hospital emergency departments between July 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, an 11.6 per cent increase over the previous period.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath says population growth outstripped bed capacity, and more people are dropping out of private health cover.

She wants the federal government to redirect funding for home care for aged and disability patients to alleviate pressure on bed capacity.

"If the Commonwealth was to step in today and provide packages for people who need aged care packages and disability packages, we would free up almost 600 beds," Ms D'Ath told reporters on Tuesday.

"That is larger than my local hospital at Redcliffe. That is the size of one of our biggest hospitals.

"So almost 600 beds is very, very significant and could ease pressure immediately across our hospital system."

Ms D'Ath has put the proposal for a restructure of Commonwealth health funding on the agenda of the next national Health Council meeting on Friday.

Ms D'Ath said the state government was committed to increasing the number of health workers by almost 10,000 by the end of 2024.

She said dealing with a GP and bulk billing shortage in regional Queensland would also alleviate pressure on the system.

"We need to reform the way we fund health and hospitals because it's based on a weighted unit - the more you do, the more you get paid," the health minister said.

"So if you actually set up systems to divert people away from the hospital system, you don't get the funding for it.

"So we need to have a genuine conversation at all levels to talk about the funding model, and also just the model, the way we deliver care."

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the government should emulate NSW and start publishing real-time capacity data.

He said emergency departments need more state investment in triaging and beds.

"We're giving those ideas - take them, pinch them, implement them. But you can't continue to talk, to continue to throw up new suggestions, and never implement them," Mr Crisafulli said

The Liberal National Party leader said Labor had been running the state's hospitals for 20 of the past 23 years.

He said blaming the Commonwealth, or Campbell Newman's Liberal National government of 2012-2015, would not solve the current capacity problems.

"We are losing control of health in this state, and it has to be fixed immediately, because you asked before who's responsible, well the minister is, and the fish rots from the head," Mr Crisafulli said.