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Queensland gets 2509 new hospital beds – now for some doctors to put them to use

Queensland’s health minister has called for more medical student placements to be funded by the Commonwealth to help boost the health workforce.

Jun 22, 2022, updated Jun 22, 2022
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. (AAP Image/Darren England)

The state government promised for another 2509 hospital beds and 290 mental health beds by 2028 in its budget on Tuesday.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland says more health workers will be needed to treat patients in those beds.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says about half of the 9475 extra workers promised at the 2020 election have been hired.

She says there’s enough funding to hire the rest, but there’s a national shortage of health workers.

The Commonwealth should fund more medical student placements so states can train new workers, D’Ath says.

“We need to have a talk with the Commonwealth about opening up places,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“There are not enough medical student places in Queensland. In fact, we’ve had places taken off us and given to NSW in recent times.

“We need extra medical places so we can actually grow our own and have more doctors being trained up.”

The minister said the state government was also looking at programs to bring mature, experienced nurses out of retirement to mentor graduates.

Many workers had left the sector after being burnt out by the pandemic, D’Ath said, while thousands of health workers died of Covid-19 overseas or had been unable to travel work work.

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“We normally supplement our workforce with international work health workers, both doctors and nurses, and we just haven’t been able to do that,” the minister said.

“So we’re on a recruitment campaign right now. We’re just seeking to attract nurses and doctors internationally.

“We’ve always done that but we haven’t been able to do that during Covid, so we’re ramping up those initiatives again.”

AMAQ president Maria Boulton said both levels of government and industry should work together to ensure student training matched the needs of the sector.

She warned against short-term fixes, such as wooing international doctors and nurses away from rural and regional areas.

“What Queenslanders need is more doctors and access to them wherever they live in the state,” Boulton said.

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