How Warwick's hospital could be stripped of $63m
A GETUP petition claiming Warwick Hospital could lose $62.8million in funding during the next decade is starting to gather some momentum among residents.
The petition claims $57billion was ripped from Australian hospitals under changes to state and federal funding arrangements.
GetUp calculated the cut to Warwick Hospital was the equivalent of 38 hospital beds, 66 nurses or 32 doctors.
When Deuchar resident Trevor Ives heard about the petition, he knew he had to act.
The concerned resident has taken it upon himself to lead the petition in Warwick.
"This is something I really believe in," he said.
"If we lose our health services, it'll kill the town in a sense.
"These things (hospital cuts) are killing towns."
The petition has 148 signatures within a few days of being launched.
Mr Ives said a lot of local people he'd spoken to supported the petition.
He hopes to get 5000 signatures.
"This could really make things difficult for people who are sick or aged," he said.
"We have to push (the politicians).
"If no one does anything, nothing will happen."
According to Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service figures, the Warwick Hospital emergency department treated 19,345 people in the past 12 months.
Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service declined to comment on the petition, instead referring the issue directly to Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick.
A spokeswoman for Mr Dick said it was too early to comment on the impact of federal health funding cuts on specific hospitals.
The spokeswoman said public hospital funds represented a reduction of $11.8billion across Queensland.
"To put that figure in context over the period that's nearly 1.4million fewer acute inpatient treatments, 2.2million fewer emergency department presentations and nearly five million fewer outpatient appointments across the Queensland Health system," he said.
Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg refuted the figures, labelling the GetUp petition "political mischief" from Labor.
"The only funding taken out of the Queensland Health budget when was I was Health Minister was $103million, taken out retrospectively by Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard," he said.
"What they are talking about money promised in forward estimates - it's Monopoly money, it never existed."
The former health minister said the budget for Darling Downs hospitals had actually increased.
"We're looking at an increase in federal health funding over a four year period of 28%," he said.
"Our hospital in Warwick under the current health board has seen four new doctors and new CT scanning equipment in the past year."
LNP candidate for Maranoa David Littleproud also refuted the figures, but declined to comment until he investigated further.
For Labor candidate Dave Kerrigan, health funding was one of the biggest issues on his radar.
"We really need to fight for our fair share of funding, whether it's Warwick Hospital or Roma or Winton," he said.
"We're sick and tired of being ignored in country areas. We're going to work as hard as we can to get funding reinstated."
He described funding cuts to health as "disastrous for country Queensland".
While Mr Kerrigan supported the petition, he said the real opportunity to have a say on the issue would come at the Federal Election.
To sign the petition, visit www.communityrun.org/petitions/save-our-warwick-hospital.