Record health budget to fund staff, services and COVID response

JOINT STATEMENT

Queensland’s record $22.2 billion health budget will focus on recruiting frontline staff, building health infrastructure, reducing emergency and surgical wait times, and continuing to protect the state from COVID-19.

Queensland Health’s operating budget for 2021-22 is $20.885 billion, a 3.4 per cent increase on the 2020-21 financial year.

A $2 billion Hospital Building Fund will also be established to assist in meeting growth pressures across the health system.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland COVID-19 Economic Recovery Budget would ensure the state’s public health system was well-resourced and financially sustainable to cope with current and future demand.

“During the global pandemic, the past 18 months have been extremely challenging for Queensland’s health system,” the Premier said.

“In addition to diverting resources to our COVID-19 response, we have also had to shoulder responsibilities such as quarantine and the largest mass vaccination program in the state’s history.

“This has not been unique to Queensland, other states have been dealing with similar situations.

“We have coped exceptionally well, thanks largely to the dedication and skill of our hard-working health workers. However, there is no denying the immense pressure this pandemic has placed on our hospitals, especially bed capacity.

“That’s why we are delivering a record health budget, one that invests in infrastructure and our workforce.

“This is a budget that will ensure our health system is efficient, sustainable and, most importantly, equipped to continue providing world-class health care to Queenslanders now and into the future.”

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said the budget would show health spending had grown again, on top of the increase last year to deal with COVID.

“That’s what Labor government’s do – deliver record health budgets,” Minister D’Ath said.

“More money for capital investment and more money to operate the health system means more jobs, right across Queensland.

“Queensland’s population is growing and ageing and there are more people using our services because they have abandoned private health insurance or don’t have access to bulk-billable healthcare.

“This record budget will help address this growth.

“We are investing in our clinical workforce, as per our promise to hire an extra 9475 frontline health staff, including 5800 nurses and midwives, 1500 doctors and 1700 new allied health professionals over four years.

“I’m happy to announce we’ll deliver even more paramedics as well, with an additional 60 paramedics on top of our commitment to deliver 475 new paramedics, taking the total to 535.

“The budget will contain investment in bricks-and-mortar projects, with a $1.352 billion capital spend, that will improve healthcare in communities across the entire state.

“I’m also pleased that there is further investment in initiatives that will make an impact on our surgery waiting lists and the backlog created at the peak of the pandemic last year.”

Minister D’Ath said the budget included $993.356 million for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).

“Like hospitals, QAS has experienced extraordinary growth in demand, and our investment in more paramedics, stations and resources will help ensure our ambulance services are responsive to the community’s needs,” she said.

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