Bush baby crisis is your problem, says federal government
HEALTH Minister Stephen Miles has received a blunt knockback from the Federal Government for help to fix the rural maternity crisis, as rural doctors slam a "scoop and run" hospital plan for the bush.
Mr Miles last week sent an SOS to his federal counterpart Greg Hunt asking for help in building Queensland's rural generalist workforce and was looking forward to discussing tactics with health ministers at Friday's COAG Health Council meeting in Adelaide.
But in a message relayed from COAG organisers, Mr Miles was told senior Commonwealth officers decided it was "an issue for Queensland" and the Federal Government doesn't see that it has a role to play.
It comes as rural doctors this week rejected plans for a "scoop and run" maternity services model for Chinchilla, instead demanding a transparent plan that includes doctors and midwives.
Mr Miles told The Sunday Mail he was let down by the lack of federal government support.
"It just shows the federal health department doesn't understand Queensland and the challenges we face delivering health services," Mr Miles said.
Queensland Health Director General Michael Walsh has also responded, saying "the Commonwealth clearly has a responsibility to work with Queensland to ensure access to GPs across Queensland including rural and remote areas".
Meanwhile the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland has called for Chinchilla, which is currently closed, to be reopened and run in the same way as Beaudesert Hospital, which operates as a rural generalist model. Beaudesert birthing unit was reopened in 2014 - the first unit to be reopened under the then LNP government. It had been closed by Labour in 2004. More than 1000 babies have been born there since the reopening.
RDAQ president Dr Neil Beaton said providing birthing services for the 10,000-strong catchment population is essential. He says RDAQ is alarmed by the proposed service model which advocates a "scoop and run" retrieval strategy, where women in labour would be taken from Chinchilla to Dalby when experiencing complications.
Queensland Health says the Beaudesert example could not be applied across the state as Beaudesert is "in close proximity to urban areas so they do not have the same workforce sustainability challenges (as) ... Chinchilla."