Redcliffe may finally have its GP ‘‘super clinic’’ - but health continues to dominate the peninsula’s byelection.
Premier Campbell Newman made his second visit to the Redcliffe Hospital grounds - the first when he announced February 22 as the byelection date - for the $15 million clinic’s "soft open" on Thursday.
The clinic, which will open with one doctor on Monday with another three doctors to take up residence in the next four weeks, has had a troubled history since the federal Labor government announced it in 2007 as part of its pledge to improve health services.
The project was delayed, funding became an issue, the Crime and Misconduct Commission was called in to review the project’s funding, and because of the bulk billing stipulations, it also had trouble attracting clinicians.
In early 2013, then federal member turned Redcliffe Labor state candidate Yvette D’ath blamed the newly elected Newman government for not supporting it.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg responded by saying it was not a state project.
But it is now, after the state government bought the building from the hospital foundation.
The Labor Redcliffe campaign questioned the timing of Mr Newman’s announcement.
But the Premier said it was all part of his ‘‘can-do government’s’’ approach to solving problems.
‘‘I note that primary health care is not a fundamental responsibility of the Queensland state government but because of the problems around this GP super clinic, we as a can-do government stepped in to make it a reality and fulfil that commitment for the people of the Peninsula,’’ he said.
But Ms D’ath, who was coincidentally door knocking a nearby street, said the government was attempting to smooth over the issues it has with health in the community.
‘‘Many people I’ve spoken to in this community ... are talking to me about their concerns about health issues,’’ she said.
‘‘The car parking is an important issue for this community but it is one issue.
‘‘You don’t have to worry about car parking at a hospital if the services aren’t there inside.’’
But Mr Newman said he would be ‘‘thrilled’’ to talk about health all election campaign ‘‘as the statistics do not lie’’.
‘‘The health service down here on the peninsula is a better health service today than it was two years ago,’’ he said.
‘‘The Labor party and their fellow travellers have been telling people all sorts of things in the last two years that are simply not true.
‘‘The national performance indicators for hospitals demonstrate that the team at Redcliffe, the nurses and doctors and administrators are doing a fantastic job compared to where they were two years ago.
‘‘They have actually got more money.’’