27 June 2023

Situation critical: LNP leader backs calls for urgent health review

| Matt Nicholls
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Opposition Leader David Crisafulli with TSRA chairman Pedro Stephen at Thursday Island Hospital on Monday.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli with TSRA chairman Pedro Stephen at Thursday Island Hospital on Monday.

QUEENSLAND’S Leader of the Opposition has called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Health Minister to urgently visit Cape York and the Torres Strait to discuss “serious health service failures” in the region.

Speaking from Thursday Island yesterday, David Crisafulli backed the calls from local leaders for an independent review of local health services, held at arms-length from Queensland Health.

“There has to be an independent inquiry,” the LNP leader said.

“Queenslanders deserve a world-class health service, no matter where they live. This is not the fault of the frontline doctors and nurses.

“I’m calling on the Premier and the Minister (Shannon Fentiman) to get here immediately.

“This is situation critical.”

Mr Crisafulli’s statement came on the back of the resignation of Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service CEO Beverley Hamerton, who stood down last Thursday for “personal reasons”.

Her resignation was a week after the death of a girl at Bamaga Hospital, which was said to be a preventable death by NPA mayor Patricia Yusia.

Mr Crisafulli said the community deserved answers.

“A review must be conducted independently. This cannot be another inside job that is never publicly released,” he said.

The Opposition Leader said he had heard “shocking allegations” while on TI, including that the lack of primary healthcare services was resulting in avoidable deaths.

“For too long this government have failed to listen, they’ve failed to heed the warnings and now the Torres Strait community is paying a high price,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“This community deserves better than having their concerns ridiculed and ignored.

“This community deserves answers on why things have gone terribly wrong and what’s being done to fix it.

“There are genuine problems here and the fact the head of the health service is gone shows urgent action is required.”

Ms Hamerton resigned with almost immediate effect.

She informed the board last Wednesday and officially ended her tenure as the TCHHS chief executive on Friday.

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