Board stems bleeding after health funds cut

HEALTHY FIGURES: Ipswich General Hospital.
HEALTHY FIGURES: Ipswich General Hospital. David Nielsen

WEST Moreton health service has balanced its books after it had more than $21 million slashed from its budget six months ago.

The announcement by Health Service chief executive Lesley Dwyer that the books were back in the black drew praise from Ipswich LNP MP Ian Berry.

But opposition Health Minister and Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said the budget cuts put patients and staff at risk.

The turnaround marked a significant achievement for health service and Ms Dwyer said patient and family centred care had always been a priority for West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.

"Six months ago, West Moreton was significantly over budget, but not only that, we also were not meeting the community's needs," she said.

"I am extremely proud of the West Moreton team for not only meeting our target of financial health but for also getting this done in such a short period of time.

"With the hard work and dedication of our staff, we have reduced our deficit and I am confident that we will enter 2013/14 in a much improved financial position. I look forward to seeing more improvements to our service as our work continues."

Mrs Miller countered the balanced books, saying hospitals should not be treated as businesses.

"The board can talk all it wants about victories and successes in ruthlessly slashing funding away from out health system but the simple fact is that hospitals should not be run as businesses," she said. "This is not something to crow about - it's something to be deeply ashamed of. It will inevitably mean services to patients are reduced, the workload for remaining staff is increased and that quality and safety are at greater risk."

Mr Berry commended the board for battling budget cuts.

"The West Moreton Health Board is working very hard to provide vital frontline health services in the face of the challenges left by the former Labor Government," he said.

"This included a bungled payroll system set to cost taxpayers billions and a waiting list of more than 200,000 people across Queensland."

Topics:  funding cuts ipswich hospital

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