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Qld health board take fall for minister

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Queensland's opposition says Health Minister Cameron Dick should go and not the board of a north Queensland hospital and health service over an $80 million 2016/17 budget blow-out.

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service announced on Monday that its entire board would step down, a day before a deadline for them to show cause as to why they shouldn't be sacked was due to expire.

Mr Dick issued the show cause ultimatum last week after a financial report showed the service faced a significant deficit budget blow-out.

But Liberal National Party health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek says the board had warned the government about its financial woes earlier this year.

"This is a crisis that has been brewing for some months and it's Cameron Dick, the health minister, that should be falling on his sword, not the board members," he said.

Mr Langbroek quizzed the service's chief executive officer in the July budget estimates about efforts to save money on electricity bills by turning off lights and air conditioning.

"The minister at the time was very critical and said I should have been asking him more questions," he said.

"It's obvious that the questions I was asking of the CEO at the time were ones that should have raised alarm bells in the ministerial office."

The service's chair, Carolyn Eagle, said an Ernst and Young report into the service's finances had identified ways to save money, but more budgetary work was necessary.

"It became clear late last week that the board has lost the confidence of the minister," Ms Eagle said.

She said the decision to resign came after "considerable deliberation" about the best interests of the service, staff and the community.

Mr Dick reiterated assurances there will be no forced redundancies and said an administrator would be appointed before the end of the week to oversee the service.

"I wish to thank board members for their work," he said.

"I also wish them well for their future endeavours."

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