Posted by Jim on April 5, 2010
Queensland Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said Tuesday’s debate on health between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd would bring no joy to residents in the rural areas of the Wide Bay electorate.
On a tour of the electorate last week, he said it was outrageous that some residents in the electorate have to travel well in excess of 200 kilometres to get an MRI scan in Toowoomba.
“Residents of Murgon and the South Burnett who are ill enough to need an MRI scan have to travel more than 220 kilometres to Toowoomba for tests,” he said. That’s around two and three-quarter hours. Each way.
“When you are unwell enough to need the scan, it is an arduous journey. It is crazy that there is a public hospital in Murgon, and the nearest nuclear medicine facility is a 450 kilometres round trip. We’re not talking about the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory here. It’s the South Burnett.”
Dr McDonald said, “It is a national disgrace that twenty years of grandstanding about health have left the regions under-resourced.
“The health debate has to be about how much longer people in the Wide Bay electorate and other regional areas with small towns will have to suffer from the lack of facilities.
“This is a real question for a patient in the South Burnett region suffering pain while Abbot and Rudd grandstand and score points off each other.
“The Liberal-National Government failed regional Australians and the electorate in health for twelve years and the Rudd Labor Government has done no better.”
He said the real priority for Kevin Rudd’s infrastructure program should have been about how better to improve conditions for regional Queenslanders in cooperation with the State Government
“People in the Wide Bay electorate worry about losing their existing hospitals. So, what does the Federal Government do with infrastructure spending in Murgon?
“They installed a row of new rubbish bins in the middle of town with pretty signs about their infrastructure program! Meanwhile, the health service situation for people who live in the rural communities of Wide Bay is no better after billions of dollars have been spent.
“Both the Labor Government and the Liberal-National Coalition at State and Federal levels have had plenty of time to improve health services for regional Australians. They have failed. The bins are symbolic of what is wrong with both parties,” he said.
Media Release, 21 March 2010by