8 October, 2021
Community responds to Morayfield Urgent Care shutdown
Community response to the sudden closure of the Health Hub Morayfield’s Urgent Care Unit went into overdrive, as word spread of its shock shutdown on Friday.
As part of an online petition to have the service funding reinstated, Moreton Bay residents were quick to express their feelings, with many calling the service ‘important’ or ‘vital’ to the community.
By Thursday afternoon, more than 10,000 people had signed the online petition, in support of the Urgent Care Unit, and calling for funding to be reinstated.
Dr Evan Jones, director of the Health Hubs Morayfield, said he made the decision to close the popular service after Queensland Health withdrew funding for the unit at the end of the last contract on Thursday.
Previously, Queensland Health had provided ‘top up’ funding of $200,000 per month, to the Health Hub, to cover the shortfall between Commonwealth Medicare payments and the actual operating cost of the unit.
With the decision announced just hours before the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Dr Jones said it was based on purely financial grounds, rather than to force a decision by Queensland Health and the Metropolitan North Hospital and Health Service.
“No, it was just done from the end of the contract, on September 30th,” Dr Jones said.
As the doors were closed on the Minor Accident and Illness Centre on Friday, staff posted notices advising patients they would need to attend either Caboolture or Redcliffe Hospital Emergency Departments.
The notices also advised the centre was no longer accepting ambulance arrivals, and these would be redirected to either Redcliffe or Caboolture.
Andrew Powell, State MP for Glasshouse, 'urged' Health Minster Yvette D'ath to meet with Dr Jones, to resolve the funding standoff.
"I'm calling on the Heath Minister to sit down with Dr Jones immediately," Mr Powell said.
"This must be resolved, Caboolture Hospital is already in crisis, it can't handle this as well."
A spokesperson for the Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath, said the decision to cut the funding was made after an ‘independent evaluation’.
“The decision to end the Grant Agreement arrangement with Morayfield Health Hub was decided after an independent evaluation,” a Health spokesperson said.
“The centre is largely a Commonwealth Government responsibility.”
When asked the wait time for a patient presenting with a non-life threatening illness at Caboolture Hospital ED on Friday, compared to the average of the previous eight weeks, Queensland Health did not provide any details.
The Minister’s spokesperson did not say if Ms D’Ath would apologise to the community for allowing the funding contract to expire without being renewed, or to say if Ms D’Ath would meet with Dr Jones in an attempt to resolve the situation.