State calls on Feds to help 'save' Gladstone Mater
THE Federal Government has been called to resuscitate Gladstone's ailing private hospital by helping with a takeover deal.
This week Mercy Health and Aged Care told staff that discussions had begun for the sale of Gladstone Mater to either another private provider or Queensland Health.
The Observer understands the land and facility could cost $15-20million.
The announcement came after Gladstone Mater's obstetrics services closed in October and hospital hours were reduced in February.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said Queensland Health could only buy the Gladstone Mater with assistance from the Federal Government.
He said the Federal Government should buy the hospital, and hand it to the Queensland Government to manage and maintain.
Mr Miles said the reduction of services or closures of regional private hospitals put more pressure on Queensland's public hospitals.
"The fact is Gladstone is losing this hospital because of Scott Morrison's failed policies," Mr Miles said.
The possible closure of the hospital has been described as "very concerning" by former Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro.
"It does not bode well for other private healthcare players," associate Professor Pecoraro said.
"It points clearly to a need for a major overhaul of how private health is delivered to the community in this country."
Prof Pecoraro said private health rebates to patients went "nowhere near" covering the costs of accessing care in the private sector.
He called for rebates to more accurately reflect the cost of providing treatment.
A spokesperson for Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt did not respond directly to Mr Miles's calls for the Federal Government to help "save" the hospital.
They accused the Queensland Government of "harvesting private patients" admitted to emergency departments to stay in public hospitals.