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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    NO NEW CHARGES IN PUBLIC HOSPITAL SYSTEM

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    NO NEW CHARGES IN PUBLIC HOSPITAL SYSTEM

    Premier Peter Beattie today ruled out the introduction of any new co-payments or means testing for public patients as a result of the Health Economist Review Report.

    “We appointed The Allen Consulting Group to independently examine a range of options to increase Queensland Health’s revenue, with any increased money to be spent on patient care,” Mr Beattie said.

    “The report was recommended by the Forster Review of Queensland Health which suggested that we had been too generous in many areas for many years.

    “The Forster Report said that if Queensland Health was to collect patient revenue at the same rate as the average of the other states and territories, we could pump an extra $115 million a year into our core business – treating and caring for sick and injured Queenslanders.

    “Detailed analysis in the Health Economist Review Report does not support Mr Forster’s view that Queensland significantly under-recovers revenue from patients.

    “Our public hospital system will remain free for Queenslanders, regardless of their income or age.

    “Queensland has the best economy and the best balance sheet in Australia, strong enough to pour an extra $6.4 billion into health over the next five years – that’s the biggest single injection of funds on record.”

    Health Minister Stephen Robertson said the review looked at the implications of introducing means testing and new co-payments for certain patients and services such as public hospital admission, outpatient appointments, subsidy schemes, dental services and Queensland’s unique safety net for pharmaceuticals.

    “The options detailed in the report bring into sharp focus the challenge of funding free public health services in a large, decentralised state such as Queensland,” Mr Robertson said.

    Mr Beattie said the Government will maintain Queensland’s unique safety net scheme for pharmaceuticals.

    “Nor will we increase indexation on health fees and charges as foreshadowed last year.

    The Health Economist Review is available online at www.health.qld.gov.au.

    March 29, 2006.

    Contact: Premier’s Office – 3224 4500
    Minister Robertson’s Office – 3234 1185