Hospitals safe from the knife

QUEENSLAND Health yesterday denied claims it was planning to slash the budget of Nambour and Gympie hospitals.

Gympie falls under the umbrella of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, which is tipped to be one of the regional health districts to go under the Newman government knife this year.

Public sector union Together says it has credible information regional hospitals will soon follow Brisbane's Metro North division, which will suffer a cut of $80 million from its projected budget.

It says regional hospitals held meetings over the past few months to determine what services they will cut, but this too has been refuted by the Nambour Hospital media unit.

Member for Gympie David Gibson also rejected the claim, although he said things across the board would be "tight".

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service acting chief executive Kevin Hegarty said yesterday the Sunshine Coast health service had received its indicative budget for 2012-13 and there "has been no reduction in our financial allocation, but funds available to provide growth are particularly tight.

"There are no plans to reduce any services," he said.

"Our response is to continue with the processes that have served us well over recent years.

"We will continue to ensure services are provided in the most efficient way."

Mr Hegarty said that while reported elective surgery category-one figures for June 2012 showed a reduction of 6% compared with June activity last year, there was a significant increase in category 3 surgery.

"Overall, our waiting list for patients waiting longer than benchmark times has improved," he said.

"At July 1, 2011, we had 22 long-wait category one patients.

"At July 1, 2012, we had four long-wait category one patients.

"Similarly for category two patients, the long waits in that period have reduced from 255 to 68.

"The target for category one patients is to have under 5% long waits and our performance at July 2, 2012 was 1.4%.

"Prioritisation for elective surgery is a clinical decision, undertaken by the surgeons."

Gympie Times

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