Aboriginal candidate says “Bring in Cuban doctors” to save health system

Sam Watson, the only Indigenous candidate in the state election, has put forward a radical idea to address the Queensland health crisis.

“I call on the Beattie government to invite Cuban doctors to Queensland as an emergency measure to address the horrific state of the health system here,” said Watson, the endorsed candidate for Socialist Alliance in Premier Beattie's seat of Brisbane Central. “Hospital patients are being left in car-parks, innumerable lives have been lost, and there are critical shortages of resources and health professionals. Its no exaggeration to say our health system is becoming third-world.”

“This would only be a crisis first step,” Watson stated. “Cuba, which has the highest rate of doctors per head of population in the entire world, has offered doctors to areas of need – from East Timor to hurricane ravaged New Orleans in the US. The Cuban doctors could help fill the immediate gaps, but also work with Australian health professionals to increase health education and help move the health system to a far more humane social service, rather than an economically rationalist ‘cost’. Certainly in my community, Indigenous people who are denied basic health services would welcome the help of Cuban doctors."

“Longer term solutions require greater public control and accountability over hospitals, a huge expansion of health education to overcome the shortage of health workers, and Community Health Centres offering primary health care focussing initially on areas of greatest need.”

“While some may suggest this is an unrealistic solution, what is most unrealistic is to accept that either of the major parties – who have done nothing in the interests of public health in all their time in power – have any answers. We hear wonderous plans weeks out from the election, but why was none of this put in place over the 9 years of Labor?”

“If tiny, poor and blockaded Cuba can have a well resourced and free health system, and we can’t we get decent health care in rich Queensland, perhaps we need to learn a little from the Cubans. Putting the health of human beings before cold economic calculations and budget surpluses is precisely the type of bold, pro-people solutions that Socialist Alliance is about,” Watson concluded.