An unhealthy obsession

IT is beautiful.

As we keep being told, the new $1.8 billion Gold Coast University Hospital is a world class, state-of-the art, cutting-edge, luxuriously-appointed public facility.

A magnificent facility which may be tricking its operators, I fear, into forgetting who their real ‘consumers’ are.


I use the word consumers because on the Queensland Health website that is what they call their public patients.

Fortunately for Premier Campbell Newman, it was completed just months after the LNP won government – allowing him the vanity of officially opening the facility built with the great big Labor debt he keeps bagging.

But much of this hospital has remained closed and promised services have failed to materialise due to funding and staff shortages.

Or so they say.

The empty beds, wards and units are being used to lure private operators into the public hospital.

A nice little revenue earner for the government.

The board of the Gold Coast Hospital has made no secret of its plan to ‘identify opportunities for private partnering’ throughout the hospital.

It is all part of the state government’s obsession with privatising and outsourcing services once performed by the public service.

Also concerning is the shift from allocating public funding on the basis of population growth to the efficiency in which the state’s hospital boards use their funds.

So if they are crap money managers, the entire region suffers.

Rather than a carrot, they are struck with a big stick – the threat of further outsourcing (and loss of jobs) if they do not meet or exceed their service targets.

Unbelievably, given the years of Southport’s parking woes and horrible stories of patients and mourning family members being slapped with fines, the only parking available at the new hospital is in a commercially-run private car park.

Parking on the streets around the nearby university is impossible so visitors have no option but to pay $16 for three hours or more.

This means $32 a day if you visit twice during visiting hours as many people do.

We are not talking about a car park that is feeding profits back into the hospital such as the Mater in Brisbane.

We are talking about a private company making a fortune from the misfortune of others.

Better get used to it.



[signoff icon=”icon-thumbs-up”]The Meddler

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