Qld gov defends putting patients up at Sea World Resort
The Queensland government has defended a decision to put patients up at a theme park resort after leaked documents showed public health patients staying at the Sea World Resort due to a shortage of beds.
The opposition grilled new Health Minister Shannon Fentiman in parliament over leaked documents revealing the theme park's Nara resort is being used for Gold Coast patients who still require hospital-based care.
The documents say the resort was used for lower acuity patients, who are medically stable and are preparing for discharge.
However, the opposition cited one patient who had suffered a pelvic injury and was transferred from the Gold Coast University Hospital to Sea World's resort.
The LNP on Wednesday claimed he was left with a hotel bed that could not be height adjusted, and chairs unsuitable for someone with a broken hip.
Ms Fentiman said she is was happy to review that particular incident but the approach had been used by governments of both sides of politics.
The minister said she trusted doctors to decide which patients would stay at hotels and indicated such accommodation offered comfortable care where healthcare workers were available 24 hours a day.
"This model of care complements several hospital avoidance and discharge programs and helps with bed flow pressures to ease wait times in emergency departments," Ms Fentiman said.
"Decisions about how and where these patients are cared for are led by doctors."
Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said patients with severe injuries are being removed from hospitals was unacceptable.
"Severely-injured patients are now pawns in the Palaszczuk government's cover-ups, as they're desperately shuffled into hotel rooms to hide the true depths of the Queensland health crisis," she said in a statement.
The use of hotels as back-up and extra accommodation is not a new concept after the former Newman government proposed a five-star hotel next to the Royal Brisbane Hospital be utilised back in 2014.
The privately run hotel was dubbed "far more cost-effective than being in a hospital ward" by former health minister Lawrence Springborg, with the then health minister eager to roll out similar plans across public hospital campuses state-wide.
Ms Fentiman went on the attack, accusing the opposition of reheating their own policy.
"We don't need whistleblowers to tell us of a policy that was started by Lawrence Springborg about how to care for patients in a very safe and comfortable way that frees up our hospitals so more people get seen quicker in our emergency departments," she told parliament.