Gladstone Mater Hospital.
Gladstone Mater Hospital.

DOCTOR CONCERNS: ‘QLD Health to charge us to use Mater’

QUEENSLAND Health plans to charge local doctors to use the Gladstone Mater Hospital and its facilities until the ultimate fate of the facility is determined, says a local doctor.

Mater Health Regional Executive Director Gerard Wyvill said before the hospital was sold, 56 people were employed there.

A Gladstone doctor, who asked not to be named, told The Observer Queensland Health had been accused of "triple dipping" the health system.

"Each and every one of us, either individually or with a group, was asked to meet with Queensland Health, with Steve Williamson and Sandy Munro," the doctor said.

"They basically want to hire doctors, either full-time or part-time, obviously they'd prefer full-time, so they can just pay government salary.

"The part-time option is you do two days, then you do private practice work.

"Its not like what we are doing now, because at the moment we are fully private.

"They said if you want to use the facility for private patients, without any commitments to Queensland Health, then you have to pay a fee for a procedure."

 

Dr Dilip Kumar and CQHHS CEO Steve Williamson at the opening of the new Gladstone Hospital emergency department on August 5, 2020.
Dr Dilip Kumar and CQHHS CEO Steve Williamson at the opening of the new Gladstone Hospital emergency department on August 5, 2020.

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The fees start at $300, the doctor said, for a procedure the doctor gets paid $450 for.

The doctor said based on the complexity of the procedure, the fees can be in excess of $1000 per procedure, for disposables and the facility use.

This is despite the fact that Queensland Health gets paid by Medicare to do the procedures, plus the fees the patients pay who are private, so the doctor said it was effectively "triple dipping".

The Gladstone Observer understands doctors are outraged, and are looking for alternative facilities to conduct their procedures, away from Gladstone.

If the doctors leave Gladstone, there is little hope of getting any Australian trained doctors back to the city, the doctor said.

"All of the doctors that have come to Gladstone over the past few years have been trained overseas, in South Africa, Europe, the US," the doctor said.

"So when a doctor is recruited from overseas, they have to be supervised by an Australian trained doctor.

"Once they have passed their two years of supervision, they pack up and leave Gladstone, because they can live and work elsewhere and chase better money."

Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister, Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher, said he would meet with doctors and CQHHS executives over the weekend to clarify what discussions were being held over health services at the Mater Hospital.

Mr Butcher said the intended model would have a private health company managing the delivery of health services at the Mater Hospital, which would continue to be owned by Queensland Health.

A Queensland Health Service spokesman said it would not be commenting any further on the Mater hospital purchase.

 

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