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Urine bottle row rocks Qld parliament

Urine bottle debate rocks parliament
Claims of urine bottles being passed around a prominent hospital on the Gold Coast have rocked state parliament.

Queensland parliament descended into fiery and farcical scenes after claims were aired about patients at a major hospital being forced to urinate into bottles due to staffing issues.

Labor Health Minister Shannon Fentiman used her time in parliament to hit back at claims by Mudgeeraba LNP MP Ros Bates over the allegations, first raised during Tuesday’s sittings.

Ms Bates had claimed patients waiting in the hallways of Gold Coast Hospital were forced to urinate into plastic bottles, passed around the emergency department area, during one of the worst ambulance ramping periods on Monday night.

She claimed patients were unable to be escorted to the toilet by staff due to issues with ramping, where ambulances are unable to offload patients to the care of a hospital’s emergency department, and staff shortages.

A bottle of liquid which became the centre of a major parliamentary dispute on Thursday. Picture: Supplied
A bottle of liquid – which Ms Fentiman claimed to Berocca – sent Thursday’s parliamentary sitting into a spin after claims were aired over patients urinating in bottles being passed around the emergency department of the Gold Coast Hospital this week. Picture: Supplied
QUEENSLAND PARLIAMENT
Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman hit back at claims that urine bottles had been passed around, saying there was not a shred of proof that it had occurred at the hospital. Picture: Dan Peled / NCA NewsWire

Ms Fentiman hit back at the claims after CCTV of the hospital was reviewed.

“Perhaps the member for Mudgeeraba should learn to bottle it up and maybe check her facts before coming into parliament,” she said.

A farcical debate then erupted after a picture of a bottle of yellow liquid was shown to members.

Ms Fentiman claimed it was a bottle of yellow electrolyte Berocca regularly drunk by ED staff on shift, suggesting this was the bottle seen by health workers on the shift.

Ms Bates denied this.

“Paramedics have already sent me that photo,” she said.

“It is the wrong area (of the hospital), you fool! It is not Berocca.”

ESTIMATES HEARINGS
Mudgeeraba LNP MP Ros Bates was booted from the chamber after a fiery exchange with Ms Fentiman over the origin of the bottle, after she first raised claims on Tuesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

“It is not a bottle of Berocca. You are just after whistleblowers!” Ms Bates said in response.

Ms Bates was booted from the chamber by Speaker Curtis Pitt for the remainder of the day – the 23rd time she had been kicked out this year.

Returning to the floor, Ms Fentiman said the bottle of Berocca was a “regular” sight in the ED.

“Hospital and health staff … found no evidence of anyone passing urine in the hallways,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Despite the huge amount of pressure they (Gold Coast Hospital staff) faced, the average patient-off-stretcher time was 28 minutes and they never reached capacity.”

The debate comes amid ongoing problems with ambulance ramping in the Sunshine State, which has persisted for years.

Last month, the statewide median patient-off-stretcher time was 26 minutes, down from 28 in May.