Dr Vasanth Mariappa checking over a patient's records at Toowoomba Hospital.
Dr Vasanth Mariappa checking over a patient's records at Toowoomba Hospital. Dave Noonan

Toowoomba hospital chiefs say no double dipping

TOOWOOMBA hospital chiefs have reassured the community no doctors at the hospital had been double-dipping despite state-wide media reports last week to the contrary.

Last week, it was claimed more than 50 per cent of senior clinicians treating private patients in Queensland public hospitals were using the private practice scheme to top up their salaries instead of raising revenue for the state's public hospitals.

Another 93 per cent were not raising enough revenue to cover the extra allowance they were getting to treat private patients, costing taxpayers more than $800 million in the past nine years.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the "scandal" revealed in a Queensland Audit Office report tabled in parliament rivalled the "infamous health payroll bungle" and the fake Tahitian prince debacle within Queensland Health.

However, Darling Down Hospital and Health Service chairman Mike Horan said the damning report did not implicate any Toowoomba or Darling Downs hospitals.

"This audit report will provide Queensland Health and the Hospital Boards with a way forward," Mr Horan said.

"It will do it in a way that is transparent and accountable.

"The way the old system was designed to work has not panned out that way," he said.

Mr Horan said the system, which was introduced in 1992, was designed to attract workers to an ailing system.

"It was a system at the time when the public health system was trying to attract staff," he said.

Toowoomba hospital executive director of medical services Dr Peter Gillies said there were definitely no doctors at the hospital that had been using the system to pump up their salaries.

"There is some lack of clarity around whether the system was designed to maximise private revenue through the public system as opposed to aiding recruitment and retention," Dr Gillies said.

"There are no doctors at Toowoomba hospital who are double dipping."



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