Steer disappointed with claims linked to nursing unit closure

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. Dan Peled

QUEENSLAND'S children's health chief has shut down claims he abolished a nursing research unit at the Royal Children's Hospital.

Dr Peter Steer, who is also a University of Queensland health science professor, said it was "surprising and disappointing" that the situation had been misrepresented without understanding the impact on his staff and patients.

Instead, he said there would be more of a focus on nursing research as well as bringing together many disciplines to improve clinical care.

"Our current research activities continue as usual despite some of the highly ill-informed allegations," he said.

"In fact, nursing research will be considerably enhanced as a result of the major organisational changes now under way at the RCH.

"Children's Health Queensland is fostering the development of a dynamic nursing research strategy that will focus on inter-professional partnerships."

The Queensland Nurses Union took out a full-page print advertisement today with an open letter to the premier from academics and health professionals around Australia and internationally.

"The nursing research unit at RCH is recognised internationally for its high quality research and production of evidence, which has provided results that have made a real difference to thousands of children and their families," it read.

"It is dangerously ill informed for anyone to suggest, through word or actions such as this, that such a unit is not an essential part of children's health services in this state.

"This decision on the child health research unit sends a message that Queensland is not prepared to play its part in research and the ongoing improvement and advancement of health services."

Premier Campbell Newman had Dr Steer's email at the ready when questioned about the unit's closure on ABC Brisbane this morning.

He said the claims simply were not true.

"It's absolute rubbish," he said.

"It saddens me that hard-working nurses right across the Queensland health system are being misrepresented so much ... by the nurses' union.

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