Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{HEALTH 'DOOMED' } {Queensland Health Is 'Dressing Up' Its CQ Improvements }; Top Surgeon Slams Lucas for Rocky's {Lsquo}second-Rate' Funding as Other Cities Surge Ahead

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{HEALTH 'DOOMED' } {Queensland Health Is 'Dressing Up' Its CQ Improvements }; Top Surgeon Slams Lucas for Rocky's {Lsquo}second-Rate' Funding as Other Cities Surge Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Melinda Siegmeier melinda.siegmeier@capnews.com.au

TOP Rockhampton surgeon Doctor Kim Bulwinkel yesterday slammed the direction that Rockhampton health services was taking, claiming the region might well be "doomed".

He said during his 20 years as a local doctor, he had seen the region's overall service capability deteriorate in a range of areas.

And he said it did not matter how the government tried to "dress it up", each CQ patient was being poorly serviced in comparison to other similar-sized areas.

Dr Bulwinkel, Australian Medical Association Queensland Capricornia representative, commented after Health Minister Paul Lucas's visit to Rockhampton last Wednesday.

"Is Rockhampton always going to be doomed to lack in health services? What has CQ done wrong not to be regarded in a similar light or degree of importance as Cairns, Townsville or Mackay? Are we regarded as second-rate citizens?" Dr Bulwinkel questioned.

Dr Bulwinkel said Central Queensland Health Service District had the worst budgetary situation in the state, but Mr Lucas yesterday said: "We all must live within our means".

"If the health budget keeps increasing at the same rate, in 30 years we'll have a Rockhampton Hospital, but no money for Rockhampton police, Rockhampton teachers or Rockhampton roads because statewide health spending would have consumed the entire budget," Mr Lucas said.

While Dr Bulwinkel acknowledged financial arguments, he said CQ people seemed to have less of a right to health resources per head of population than that available to the rest of Australia.

He said with a population of more than 210,000, the region was poorly serviced compared with similar-sized areas.

"I have only seen our overall service capability go backwards, with very occasional brief periods of improvement that then gets lost because of poor planning, under-resourcing and exhaustion of the commitment of practitioners, especially of doctors," he said. …

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