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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians.

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.


Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference


Cairns Hospital

The Solution

Prime Minister Howard has visited Davenport Hospital and is reported to have indicated that the hospital, which is apparently stressed to provide adequate if not basic services to the local population, would be subject to another form of funding and management.  

His suggestion was that a local Trust would be formed to control the hospital, managed by locals with professional help, and fully funded by the Commonwealth. The operation would be, for all intents and purposes, a Commonwealth funded operation divorced from State control. 

The basic operation system proposed is nothing new and was the system that operated in Queensland prior to the implementation of the Goss Governments centralisation policies. In those days there were admittedly some hospital problems but they were the exception rather than, as they are today, the rule. 

Such a proposal should be seriously considered in the case of the Cairns Base Hospital where over the last few years the bureaucratic management has been fairly ordinary, caused in substantial part by the availability of funds, or perhaps more specifically the lack of them.  

If we like to recall just some of the stories about the Cairns Base Hospital during the last few months we have the situation where, but to highlight a couple of problems, unqualified doctors were employed, staffing shortages are endemic and any logical plan for the long-term improvement of the hospital has all been totally ignored. 

I refer to my suggested development of two additional sites for specialist hospital facilities while leaving the present hospital to concentrate on those services suited to its location and expertise. 

In making these comments, I must make it abundantly clear that the staff at the Cairns Base Hospital are a dedicated and proficient team who have the interests and well being of their patients at heart. But any team has to be managed, funded and made inclusive and I don’t believe the hospital staff are afforded these essentials. 

By way of example it has recently been published that at the Cairns Base Hospital there are [or will be] only 8 staff to take care of the needs of 956 Child and Youth Mental Service patients. This staffing level is totally inadequate and the inadequacy is not limited to this particular unit. In addition, the Beattie Government reneged on a dollar for dollar promise for the proposed COUCH cancer chemotherapy initiative and while this may, in itself, be just a very ordinary act, it is indicative of a more general attitude of disinterest typical of the state Government. 

The Howard proposal regarding the Davenport Hospital, while stated to be only a trial, should be seriously considered by Cairns residents. An application must be made to the Prime Minister immediately to offer the Cairns Base Hospital as a second trial facility. 

We must remember that it was the Goss Government that took the “local” out of Queensland’s hospital management and, at that time, his senior advisor was none other than Kevin Rudd. While Wayne Goss has moved on there is nothing to suggest that the Federal Leader of the Opposition has altered his attitude and understandably so. He has other current problems in Tasmania.  




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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870