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Greens call for 3,500 ICU beds as analysis shows Queensland has low rate of hospital beds per population

New analysis by the Greens shows Queensland has one of the lowest ratios of hospital and ICU beds to population in the developed world. 

Greens MP Michael Berkman says Labor and the LNP’s chronic underfunding of the public health system leaves Queensland unable to properly prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, and is calling for a massive long term expansion of funding for hospitals, doctors and nurses.

“Queensland, with only 3.71 hospital beds per 1000 people, is well behind places like Germany and South Korea who have double and triple our ratio of beds to population.”

“Last flu season Queensland Health had to declare an emergency because our underfunded hospitals were overwhelmed with flu patients.” 

“Now Labor is failing us again. Victoria has announced a ten-fold increase in their ICU beds to 4,500, while Queensland only has 802 across both public and private hospitals, even after doubling our capacity. We need to at least match Victoria’s rate per person, which would bring Queensand to 3,500 ICU beds.”  

“But we also need to learn the lessons from this crisis and expand our public health system in the long-term.” 

Mr Berkman said the long term health spending commitments would be funded by making mining corporations pay their fair share. 

“Over the last five years alone, massive mining and gas corporations have exported over $270 billion worth of coal, gas and minerals from Queensland and paid just 7% in royalties. If even a fraction more of that had gone toward public health, we would be in a much better position to deal with this crisis.” 

Queensland Greens have called for 

  • A “surge capacity” of 3,500 ICU beds - instead of 802 - to match Victoria’s ratio of ICU beds per person and further increase our emergency department capacity. Achieve this by expanding the number of standard hospital beds by acquiring more suitable hotels, apartments and buildings, and converting more existing hospital beds to ICU beds.
  • Free flu vaccine for every Queenslander every year to help reduce the strain on our health system. 
  • Rapidly establish a string of public factories to produce face masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE - Provide face-masks and hand sanitizer free to all Queenslanders. 
  • From next year permanently create 21,000 more hospital beds, 6,500 more full-time nurses, 3,000 more doctors and 200 community health clinics with bulk billing GPs and specialists in every community.

More details are online here: 

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