You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Cairns Hospital budget blowout explained

AAP logoAAP 14/10/2016 Jamie McKinnell

An $80 million budget deficit at Cairns Hospital has been blamed on increased costs for new and expanded services.

An independent report into the 2016-17 projected operating deficit at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service was released on Friday, nearly a month after its entire board stepped down over the ballooning financial problems.

The report found cost increases were the primary driver of the budget blowout, with new services either costing more than originally budgeted for or not fully funded.

The services included the Hepatitis C and Digital Hospital programs, while higher labour costs from enterprise bargaining increases were also noted as a deficit contributor.

The report identified nearly $30 million of potential savings that could be made this financial year, including appropriate rostering to reduce staff overtime and ensuring the most efficient use of drugs and certain services.

Board administrator and Queensland Health Director-General Michael Walsh said the organisation had already implemented a raft of measures to reduce the size of the projected deficit and would look at further savings suggested in the report.

He assured there would be no forced redundancies for permanent staff, but gave no guarantees for the estimated 100 staff on temporary contracts.

"While temporary jobs can be extended, by their very nature they also have an end date," Mr Walsh said.

He also said balancing the service's finances may take more than a year.

The hospital's board members stepped down on September 19 after Health Minister Cameron Dick demanded they show cause as to why they should keep their jobs.

Liberal National Party health spokesman John Paul Langbroek said the report highlighted lost jobs and fewer services in the region.

"(Health Minister) Cameron Dick's incompetence has led to almost 240 frontline staff and 100 contractors at Cairns hospital losing their jobs," he said.

"Not to mention the locums, agency nurses and others who'll lose work as part of the drastic cost cutting."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon