MPs barred from Redland Hospital wards

HEALTH Minister Cameron Dick has come under fire after banning Opposition members from Redland Hospital's Emergency Department.

Shadow Health spokesman Mark McArdle, with, from left, Redlands MP Matt McEachan, Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates and Cleveland Mp Mark Robinson on the footpath outside Redland Hospital. PHOTO: Judith Kerr

Shadow Health spokesman Mark McArdle, with, from left, Redlands MP Matt McEachan, Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates and Cleveland Mp Mark Robinson on the footpath outside Redland Hospital. PHOTO: Judith Kerr

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle said Mr Dick was being vindictive and it was retribution for Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates observing a night shift at a Gold Coast hospital.

Mr McArdle applied to the government for an inspection of Redland Hospital last week.

Initially, he was granted a three-hour visit covering the emergecy department, renal unit, cardiac, paediatrics, maternity, rehabilitation and surgtical  wards.

However, that was curtailed on Monday to a one-hour visit of the hospital's paediatric, maternity and rehab wards.

"The Health Minister is now controlling how long I can spend in a hospital and what areas I get access to," Mr McArdle said.

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle with Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates were refused entry to Redland Hospital's Emergency Department. PHOTO: Judith Kerr

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle with Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates were refused entry to Redland Hospital's Emergency Department. PHOTO: Judith Kerr

"What is he hiding? At no other time have I been denied access by a minister to a hospital. This man has become dictatorial.

“By interfering in this process the Palaszczuk Government is not only breaching the Westminster Conventions that are integral to our democracy, but they are also denying Queenslanders access to vital information about the performance of our state’s health system.”

Ms Bates, who is Deputy Chair of the Health and Ambulance Committee, slated the move back to her stoush with the minister on the floor of Parliament last week.

Mr Dick referred the matter to the ombudsman to determine if Ms Bates breached rules during her visits to the Robina hospital.

Last week, he asked the Director-General of Health to draw up protocols to govern politicians' visits to hospitals.

So far this year, Mr Dick has approved 20 visits for the Opposition to hospitals.

Mr Dick said the MPs were not refused entry to the hospital but admitted the visit came under scrutiny after Ms Bates’s Gold Coast foray.

“Of course we regulate visits to hospitals, they are not your standard work place and need a set of protocols to protect patients’ anonymity,” he said.

“Hospitals are sensitive places and we want to keep them safe which is why they are regulated as a standard practice, which has been in place for a long time.

“We worked with the hospital at Redlands … if Mr McArdle wants to visit other parts of the hospital he can put in another request. I don’t think the premier was able to visit any hospital when she was in opposition.”

Cleveland MP Mark Robinson, refused entry to the Emergency Department on Tuesday,  said he believed the ban was to hide previous Labor government's funding ineptitude.

Under the Bligh government, the Emergency Department, paediatrics ward and short stay beds at Redland Hospital were upgraded.

But when the LNP took office in 2012, there was no recurrent spending set aside in forward estimates to staff the new wards.

"Cameron Dick is embarrassed about the legacy of the previous ALP government, which failed to fund staffing of new facilities," Mr Robinson said.

The new Emergency Department is operating well as a result of the funding the LNP found.

"However, there are concerns with other aspects of the hospital which is why it is necessary for the Opposition and local MP to have access."

Redlands MP Matt McEachan said Redland Hospital was one of the best performing hospitals in Australia and he always treated access with the greatest respect.

Mr Dick's office was contacted for comment.

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