The Gladstone Hospital is owed money by the Federal Government.
The Gladstone Hospital is owed money by the Federal Government. Christopher Chan GLA300512HOSP

CQ hospitals owed $39m by the Commonwealth

CENTRAL Queensland hospitals could lose $39 million in health services following a Federal Government decision to refuse funding it owes to Queensland hospitals.

The bill is part of the $979 million owed to hospitals around the state, prompting a plea from the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles, for the Federal Government to pay its bills.

"This is a savage attack on healthcare in Central Queensland," Mr Miles said.

"We're not talking about arguments over future funding - this is about Canberra paying for services already delivered in Rockhampton, Gladstone, Emerald, Moura and Biloela."

Mr Miles said the independent health funding umpire had ruled that the Commonwealth owes Queensland hundreds of millions of dollars for healthcare provided as far back as 2014.

"I'm asking for help - from politicians on all sides, from health professionals, from stakeholders - to encourage the Federal Government to meet its commitments," he said.

He said the $39 million health bill equals 424 cataracts and lens procedures, 299 hernia repairs, 214 hip or knee operations and 14,236 medical procedures.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the funding shortfall could have disastrous effects on future healthcare in the region.

"The Federal Government needs to pay their debt - pay up or continue to put at risk the treatment of thousands of Central Queenslanders," Mr Butcher said.

Mr Miles said Queensland Health had worked hard to ensure no one had been disadvantaged while waiting for Canberra to pay its bills.

"But this is not sustainable," Mr Miles said.

"If Canberra refuses to pay its fair share our hospitals will be forced to reduce health services they could otherwise deliver."