Posted November 11, 2014 by Sharon Marshall

CAIRNS health workers say hospital standards have declined, staff morale has fallen and staff rate the Newman government’s management of Queensland’s public health system as ‘poor to very poor’.

A damning new survey of more than 500 nurses, doctors, administration staff and health professionals has found the majority believes health service and hospital standards and quality of care levels have fallen considerably since 2012.

The Queensland Nurses’ Union (QNU) and Together union survey of Cairns & Hinterland Hospital and Health Service staff found more than 90 per cent of those questioned believed staff morale was on the decline. More than 80 per cent rated the government’s performance as poor to very poor while a further 65.5 per cent believed the quality of services had rapidly declined in the last two years.

Ms Mohle said the region’s health standards and staff morale were waning – and the concerted push by employer groups to strip penalty rates for casual weekend workers would only make the situation worse.

“There is growing unrest and deep dissatisfaction among Cairns and hinterland workers about ongoing staff and budget cuts and the level of care they can provide for patients,’’ Ms Mohle said. 

“These concerns are causing a steep decline in staff morale and it is public health services and hospitals – and the public – that will suffer as a result. 

“Sadly, in addition, we are seeing a concerted push employer groups who are lobbying the Federal government to cut weekend penalty rates. The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) is currently running a determined campaign to block this push.’’   

Together Secretary Mr Alex Scott said the survey was damning.

“The Newman government has cut staff numbers and health budgets to a point where staff are routinely forced to work double shifts and perform regular, unpaid overtime,’’ Mr Scott said.

“Health workers in Cairns and the surrounding regions are being forced to do more with less and there’s only so much they can take. The move to reduce penalty rates is a bridge too far.”                                                                                                                          

The QCU yesterday unveiled static and mobile billboards highlighting the importance of penalty rates for the region.

The QNU and Together survey findings released today include:

  • 91.4% believe staff morale is worse due to the changes to the public health system over the last two years
  • 85.8% say changes to the public health system over the last two years has had a negative impact on job security
  • 84.8% of respondents said changes to the public health system over the last two years made it harder to provide quality health services for Queenslanders
  • 82.4% rate the current government’s performance when it comes to managing Queensland's public health system as poor to very poor.
  • 65.5% said the quality of services is worse compared to the quality of services they were able to provide in March 2012.



Beth Mohle – QNU Secretary                                     Alex Scott – Together Secretary

0438 158 692                                                                   0438 876 659


Lou Robson – QNU Media                                           Sharon Marshall – Together Media

0422550278                                                         0407759868


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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