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'No cuts' to cover Cairns hospital blowout

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Jamie McKinnell

There will be "no major cuts" at the Cairns Hospital to fix an $80 million budget deficit after its board members resigned over the ballooning financial problems, Health Minister Cameron Dick says.

Mr Dick last week issued board members an ultimatum, demanding they justify their continued employment, after an Ernst and Young report found the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service was facing an $80 million projected deficit for 2016/17.

Board members resigned on Monday, citing the loss of the minister's confidence.

"We now need to work out a plan for that hospital and health service to ensure that it operates sustainably into the future," Mr Dick said on Tuesday.

An administrator will be appointed to oversee the service.

"There will be no major cuts, there will be nothing like that," Mr Dick said.

"What we need to do is work through to ensure the hospital and health system up there in Cairns can work in a financially-sustainable fashion."

Mr Dick said board members had done the right thing taking responsibility for the financial issues.

He said the problem was unique to the Cairns hospital and other regions' health services did not face financial trouble.

Opposition leader Tim Nicholls demanded Mr Dick release the Ernst and Young report.

"We're yet to see what is says about what's gone wrong and what the recommendations are," he said.

"It looks like we're going back to the bad old days of health under Queensland Labor."

Mr Nicholls said the report's public release would ensure Queenslanders could have confidence in the state's health administration.

LNP health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said there would need to be "strong actions" under the administrator to reel in the deficit.

Treasurer and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said he expected the hospital to continue providing services .

The region's health budget had increased by $110 million, or 16 per cent, under the Palaszczuk government, he said.

"The health minister is going to have to manage that budget," Mr Pitt said.

"The health minister will work across his portfolio to ensure the services are being delivered to the extent people expect in those local communities."

In announcing the resignations, the service's chairwoman Carolyn Eagle said Ernst and Young had identified areas where savings could be made without impacting front line care.

"There is more budgetary work to be done," she said.

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