$12 billion in health funding to go to Queensland hospitals

HOSPITAL  across Queensland are set to share in a record $12 billion health operating budget, the state government says.

A $532.7 million increase for the 2013-14 financial year will bring the Department's total operating budget to $12.326 billion, an increase of 4.5 per cent on last year's record Budget.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg welcomed the increase, stating the health budget had increased by 11.6 per cent since the government came to power.

"Almost 84 per cent of Queensland Health's total operating budget will go directly to its 17 Hospital and Health Services and certain private healthcare providers for the provision of public services.

"This means local people will make decisions on how their budget will be spent in their region."

The Department of Health will purchase public services from Mater Health Services, St Vincent's Hospital, Noosa Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital (from December 2013) in 2013-14.

Key highlights of the 2013-14 operational health budget include:

• $147 million over four years, as part of a total $327 million program, to address the backlog of maintenance inherited from the former government at health facilities across the state

• $80.8 million over four years to enable better access to health care services for Queenslanders in regional, rural and remote communities 

• $5.8 million to address the current waiting list for adults, adolescents and children requiring cochlear implants

• $28.3 million over four years for additional Hospital in the Home services to be provided by the private sector
Mr Springborg said in addition to the operating budget, more than $1.3 billion would be invested in health facility projects in 2013-14, including:

• the continuation of major hospital developments such as the Gold and Sunshine Coast University hospitals, Queensland Children's Hospital, Cairns Base Hospital and the Townsville Hospital

• $5.6 million to establish an ambulatory cancer day therapy unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital

• $45.9 million to upgrade health facilities in rural and remote areas

Mr Springborg said a major restructure of the Department of Health meant more funding could be diverted to the frontline in this year's budget.

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