Patients Not To Blame Beattie Should Get Off His Diet And His High Horse – 19 August 2005

“Patients are not to blame for the failures of the Queensland Government in health”, Dr Bruce Shepherd, Chairman of the Australian Doctors’ Fund said in Sydney today.

Dr Shepherd was commenting on the public remarks made by Premier Beattie that obesity, smoking and ageing “are all putting huge pressures on the system” and calling for the public to take “personal responsibility “.

Peter Beattie is sounding like a reformed eater. He’s in the health pulpit telling us how to live. Worse than that, he’s making it sound as if patients are the ones to blame for his failure.

Dr Shepherd said, “Whilst Premier Beattie was telling us what we all know, what he’s not telling us is the important bit.”

“He is not telling us that under his premiership he has neglected to support the backbone of Queensland Health, namely its medical workforce.

He is not telling us that for years he promised what he could never deliver – free high quality health care on demand for all.

He is not telling us where the billions of dollars going into the Queensland public hospital system end up and how much of the health dollar reaches patients. (Australia taxpayers spend $18 billion per annum on our public hospital system. That’s $1000 per person per annum).

He is not telling us how much of the health dollar is being sucked up by a growing bureaucracy.

He is not telling us that under his leadership Queensland doctors are being downgraded and the whole system de-medicalised. Why would any doctor want to work in the Queensland public hospital system when the government believes they are the enemy?”, Dr Shepherd said.

“My advice to Premier Beattie is to support your doctors, re-medicalise Queensland Health, remove the culture of fear, stop telling us how to live, sit down and have a good meal,” Dr Shepherd said.