MP Ted O'Brien addresses Mudjimba Beach residents concerns.
MP Ted O'Brien addresses Mudjimba Beach residents concerns. Patrick Woods

Coast medical school on track for 2019, Fairfax MP says

UPDATE: FAIRFAX MP Ted O'Brien has denied a medical school to go with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital could be delayed beyond 2019, suggesting the government had until at least April to confirm the final 15 teaching positions.

Responding to comments made by Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick at a University of the Sunshine Coast open day today, Mr O'Brien said he and Fisher MP Andrew Wallace had been fighting hard to secure the extra teaching positions and the only way that could be achieved was through a national review, which was now underway.

"The last time I heard from Cameron Dick, personally, on this issue he was congratulating me. Now he seems to be criticising me," Mr O'Brien said.

"Obviously there's an election coming up."

Mr O'Brien said a February 15 deadline for the positions referred to in previous reports had been loosely set by Griffith University in discussions in November.

However, he said he understood the actual deadline to be much more fluid.

Mr O'Brien said he understood the university needed 18 months to establish a course, which meant that process would have to be underway by June.

The university board would also need to consider the medical school before making a final decision on it.

Mr O'Brien said the next board meeting was scheduled for some time in April and he expected the government's review should be complete and, hopefully, the full 50 teaching positions confirmed, in time for that meeting.

He lashed out at Mr Dick and Mayor Mark Jamieson's campaign for the extra medical positions, saying they were doing more harm than good.

"Not only is that irresponsible, it doesn't help the Coast," he said.

"There is only one game in town to deliver it (the extra 15 teaching positions), and that's this review."

Mr O'Brien said the debate over the positions was turning it and, by default, Griffith University, into a political football.

"We have an investor (the university) wanting to come into the region and they are being used as a political football," he said. 

EARLIER: QUEENSLAND Health Minister Cameron Dick has accused lashed out at Sunshine Coast-based LNP MPs over the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Speaking at the hospital this morning, Mr Dick accused both federal and state Sunshine Coast-based LNP MPs of failing to convince the Federal coalition government to provide the teaching places needed to establish a teaching facility at the hospital.

"The Queensland government is still waiting, as it has been waiting for 15 months now, for a decision from the Commonwealth government on the 15 places that are required to take the number of medical teaching places to 50 here on the Sunshine Coast so we can open a new medical school," Mr Dick said.

"Currently this is a Sunshine Coast University Hospital without its university component because of the delaying by the Federal government.

"They are unwilling to make a decision on allocating places to this hospital and I think that's a big shame."

Mr Dick said he wanted to see the hospital's medical school up and running by 2019.

"I don't want to delay it until 2020," he said.

"There are wall to wall LNP members on the Sunshine Coast, both in the State government and the Federal government and they are not fighting for this community.

"The young people of the Sunshine Coast need to have the career opportunities in health care in their own backyard. They need to have those opportunities in their community."

Mr Dick's attack echoes criticisms by Mayor Mark Jamieson, who has been calling on the Federal government to provide the extra 15 places and last month accused local Federal MPs Ted O'Brien and Andrew Wallace of trying to create a "smoke screen" around the issue.

The MPs have said they instigated a review of medical school places around Australia, suggesting the nation was facing an oversupply of medical training positions.

Griffith University has previously said it needed the extra 15 places confirmed by February 15 - more than a week ago - to be able to open the new medical school by 2019.

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