Mt Isa super clinic paralysed by year-long funding dispute
PLANS for the Mt Isa GP super clinic remain at a standstill, 12 months after the local division charged with developing the project raised concerns that the $2.5 million allocated was insufficient.
The Federal Government remains locked in a stalemate with North & West Queensland Primary Health Care, with division chair Dr Viney Joshi saying the funding would need to be doubled for a viable super clinic to be established.
Former division chair Dr Harvey Roux voiced concerns over the level of funding for the project last year (MO, 1 May 2009). However, the division signed a super clinic contract with the Federal Government less than three months later, despite no additional funding being guaranteed.
Dr Joshi said that since taking over as chair his negotiations to secure additional funding to for the clinic had failed, with the division unwilling to attempt establishment of a super clinic for the $2.5 million.
“The ball is now in the Government’s court,” Dr Joshi told MO. “Unless there is [at least] $5 million there is not a great deal we can do to go forward. You look at the places in Perth [which will receive] $10 million to start a super clinic... the astronomical cost of real estate in Mt Isa alone is a barrier, so $2.5 million is absolutely not enough.”
A spokesperson for Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said that the Government was disappointed “that the division is unable to fulfil its contractual obligations to establish a GP Super Clinic [GPSC]”.
“The Government will continue to work hard to deliver a GPSC for the Mt Isa community,” the spokesperson said.
The picture so far
- Contracts signed on 30 of the original 31 super clinics promised
- Only three – Ballan, Strathpine and Redcliffe – fully operational
- Partial operations believed to have begun in a further eight super clinics
- An additional five super clinics announced before the Budget.