May 27th 2008
Greens and Labor brawl over hospital beds
Yesterday, the Townsville Greens called on the Queensland government to honour promises made in the 2006 state election to boost hospital beds at the Townsville Hospital or face a backlash at the next state election.
"In 2006, Peter Beattie promised 100 new beds but omitted to fund the nursing staff to go with the beds; we have a now defunct coronary unit; we have heard that ambulance officers are forced to keep patients waiting on trolleys stacked outside the Emergency Rooms like so many crates of beer; we hear reports of people being sent home too early to make room for others, all outcomes which are clearly unacceptable" said Jenny Stirling, Greens spokesperson.
"Do we have to have some large scale industrial or military accident to ram home the point that we are being short sheeted when it comes to available beds? How can staff adequately attend to the needs of patients when they are hamstrung with a lack of a basic resource such as beds?"
But Member for Townsville, Labor's Mike Reynolds, hit back saying, "The Greens' scaremongering is pitiful, especially when they become the little Miss Echo of the Liberal Party a week after the Liberals launched the same erroneous attack on Townsville Hospital."
Mike Reynolds accused the Townsville Greens of, "Trying to ride on the coat tails of Liberal leader Mark McArdle in his grossly inaccurate allegations about the Townsville Hospital."
"Greens Spokesperson, Jenny Sterling seems to be mirroring the same inaccurate statements that Mr McArdle made a week ago.
"The Greens are absolutely unaware that 22 new Townsville Hospital beds have already been provided since the September 2006 election and Minister Stephen Robertson announced a tendering process for the remaining 78 new beds in late February this year.
"Ms Sterling's allegations about a so-called defunct coronary unit is again wide of the mark and is absolutely insulting to the hard working coronary staff who work at the hospital.
"Queensland Health is hopeful of announcing a new director to the Cardiac Unit in the very near future.
"Perhaps Jenny Sterling would have preferred to see the old Cardiac Unit still constituted and clearly putting patients lives at risk." claimed Mike Reynolds.
The Greens claimed that the three State Government Ministers representing Townsville have made no difference when it comes getting the government to commit to expansion of a facility that serves one of the fastest growing communities in Australia and the health needs of an entire region.
Mike Reynolds responded, "Craig Wallace, Lindy Nelson-Carr and myself have worked extraordinarily hard on the Cardiac Unit issues, the provision of the extra 100 beds and relief which is required for the Emergency Department to cope with the major growth that is occurring in Townsville and North Queensland."
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