The Sunshine Coast’s $1.8 billion university hospital faces a major crisis if it cannot secure one of its most critical components – a university, according to Health Minister Cameron Dick.
Mr Dick says the hospital’s promise of delivering the health workforce of the future was in jeopardy because it had yet to sign a university to establish a medical school on the site.
The hospital needs 50 medical students to establish that school, but currently only has 35 locked in.
“On March 8 this year, eight months ago, I wrote again to Senator Birmingham, and offered to fund 50% of the cost for these essential 15 new places each year during the four-year transition phase,” he said.
“I also advised the minister that we would guarantee a place to every one of the students graduating from the medical school in our state’s intern training program.
“This would mean more jobs for Queensland doctors.
“Mr Speaker, in May 2016, Minister Birmingham acknowledged this commitment but, six months later, is yet to commit to the medical places.
“I once again wrote to the minister three months ago, on August 3.
“I even offered to travel to Canberra to meet the minister to discuss this important proposal for the Sunshine Coast.
“No reply, just silence.
“I wrote again last week and what did I get? Still no reply, just silence!”
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace hit back at the State Government minister.
“The only crisis facing the Sunshine Coast University Hospital is the continued bungling of the Queensland Government that has delayed the hospital’s opening until at least April 2017,” he said.
“If it weren’t for the Electrical Trades Union and the CFMEU, supported by the Palaszczuk Labor Government, the hospital would be open this month.
“The Federal Government has already agreed to transfer 35 training places to the new hospital.
“Ted O’Brien and I have been working on this with the Health Minister, the Education Minister and the Rural Health Minister and we are determined to ensure that we get the extra 15 places.”
Mr Dick said the Sunshine Coast University Hospital could potentially be the only hospital of its type in Australia without a medical school unless the matter was resolved.
“This is a critical component in delivering on the vision for this hospital to be a true tertiary teaching hospital,” he said.
“It will also have a negative impact on its ability to recruit the highest calibre staff if we do not secure these places.
“I urge the Turnbull Government to support the Sunshine Coast by recognising the considerable partnership the Queensland Government is willing to offer, by approving the necessary medical places immediately.”