Cilento Sign Goes
Cilento Sign Goes

Millions lost after hospital name change

THE Queensland Children's Hospital name change has bombed with philanthropists, with a $2.1 million drop in donations following the tearing down of the Cilento name.

Despite Health Minister Steven Miles promising a boost in donations for lifesaving research and equipment would flow following the name change, The Courier-Mail can reveal donations are down.

The Children's Hospital Foundation Queensland received nearly $19 million in 2019 from donations and other contributions, according to its annual report.

That's $2.1 million less than 2018's $21.1 million figure.

David Cilento, the son of the late Lady Phyllis Cilento, said he wasn't surprised patrons had reacted after the controversial wiping of his pioneer mother's name from the South Brisbane campus.

"They've certainly let their feelings be known, that's pretty serious money," Mr Cilento said.

"Most philanthropists have a sense of honour, which is totally lacking in the Queensland Government both as a party and as individuals.

"They (the Government) were desperate to find reasons and the desperation there is just so obvious now that their entire reasoning has failed."

Before the $300,000 name change, Mr Miles told Queenslanders the name was confusing for parents and changing it would help more sick kids.

"The Children's Hospital Foundation believes they can raise more money for lifesaving medical research and vital new medical equipment if we change the name of the hospital," he said.

"The foundation believes changing the hospital's name will help them raise extra philanthropic and charitable donations for decades and decades to come."

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said the results exposed that argument as a lie.

"This was always about petty politics by Labor, and the name should never have been changed," he said.


Health Minister Steven Miles and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Health Minister Steven Miles and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Mr Miles said Queenslanders were donating more money than ever before to the Children's Hospital Foundation and last financial year was a record year, with $12.9 million invested into research for childhood diseases, medical equipment and patient and family support services.

"Excluding income from bequests, the Foundation's fundraising income for 2018-19 grew 7.7 per cent," he said.

"Understandably income from bequests vary year to year, with two unusually large bequests received in 2017-18.

"I look forward to the foundation continuing to break records every year to raise more funds to help sick kids."

The Courier-Mail revealed earlier this year medical philanthropists Judith and Trevot St Baker AO had told the Children's Hospital Board they had lost their future support after "tearing down" the name of the Queensland medical pioneer.

They had previously donated $330,000 to the Starlight Foundation specifically for the hospital's $1.5 million Starlight Express Room, which is a haven for sick kids, and had invested millions of dollars over the years to different Queensland causes.