‘Cheated, used’ by Jarrod Bleijie over hospital
KAWANA MP Jarrod Bleijie has lost the confidence of community groups he allied himself with in the fight for a Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
They say they feel cheated, used and totally let down by Mr Bleijie and the LNP over the post-election decision to consider the privatisation of public health delivery at the hospital.
"You can't lead a march of 5000 people in support of a public hospital and then say you don't think public health delivery works,'' Australian Pensioners and Superannuant League president Frank Gower said.
He was backed by Sunshine Coast University Hospital Action Group leader Maureen Mileham who said the government was ignoring the very clear views of Sunshine Coast Health Board chairman Professor Paul Thomas, clinicians and nurses. Both said the feedback they were getting from the public could only be described as "toxic".
Mr Gower said there was a real fear that profits would come before patients if health service delivery was contracted out.
"I know the bloke, I like the bloke,'' he said of Mr Bleijie.
"If they had gone to the election with that policy I would have respected that, but the platform was local hospital boards.''
Mr Gower said people he spoke to felt the KPMG report commissioned to explore the benefits of private delivery of health services was "window dressing" and that it was a done deal.
In a letter to the editor in last Saturday's Sunshine Coast Daily Mr Bleijie urged residents to ignore the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Community Coalition headed by federal Labor candidate for Fisher Bill Gissane.
Mr Bleijie wrote "If residents want real conversation about the hospital, free from the politics of federal Labor, they should look to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Action Group and the local hospital board, not Labor candidates or their union mates".
It is advice that has come back to bite him.
"I worked well with Jarrod, kept him informed every step and would go there (to the hospital site) every Saturday to fight for a public hospital not the private delivery of public health,'' Ms Mileham said.
"I feel cheated and that we haven't been listened to. It's how I feel as do many people on the Sunshine Coast.
"Let down is a polite way of putting it. We worked closely with the LNP thinking we were getting what we were working for. The LNP has let us down. It is about time the LNP listened to people. The minute you mention the hospital people join in asking questions.''
Both Ms Mileham and Mr Gower said they could understand the contracting of catering, cleaning and laundry services. But they say the line needs to be drawn at clinical services.
"It should never happen,'' Ms Mileham said. "I have told Jarrod that. I have asked questions and there are still no answers.''
Mr Gissane said Mr Bleijie had now had three goes at him and the line of argument was becoming increasingly preposterous.