October 29, 2013
A new Kingaroy Hospital could be built on land beside the current building within just a few years.
The chairman of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board, Mike Horan, told southburnett.com.au today he was hopeful money to start construction of a new building could become available within two or three years.
The project depends on funding from the State Government however Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is believed to be supportive.
Mr Horan said the Health Board had identified Kingaroy Hospital as the “most urgent” hospital building project in this Health District and had brought this fact to the attention of the Minister.
“The local Member, Deb Frecklington, has been working hard on it as well,” Mr Horan said.
Mr Horan said Kingaroy Hospital was close to capacity and had other problems including the birthing facilities, the layout of the wards and the inadequacy of the Accident and Emergency facility.
The building also had some other structural issues.
Mr Horan said work to improve electrical and fire safety at Kingaroy Hospital had begun, however as there was the possibility of new hospital being constructed, work on a new Emergency Department, although still under consideration, had not yet started.
“We are working hard to get funding for a new hospital,” Mr Horan said.
“It is a growing area and it is the major hospital in the area.
“It also has well over 400 births a year.”
Mr Horan said there was sufficient land available in the hospital precinct for a new building to be erected on a “greenfield site”, allowing the current Heritage-listed building to remain.
“That would be the plan,” Mr Horan said.
“Lawrence Springborg is very keen and sees that rural Queensland needs a number of hospital rebuilds.”
The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board held its regular monthly Board meeting at Murgon Hospital today.
Every second month, the Board meets in one of the rural towns in the region; this is the third time it has met in the South Burnett since it was formed in July last year.
Board members took the opportunity of the visit to the region to inspect Nanango Hospital, Cherbourg Hospital, Cherbourg Community Health Centre and Murgon Hospital.
Mr Horan said the Board had come in under budget by $14 million at the end of the financial year which had allowed a few “one-off” spends across the Darling Downs health region.
These included the allocation of $3 million for more elective surgery, an extra 200 endoscopies, the construction of a $1.1 million maternity unit at Stanthorpe Hospital, the construction of a palliative care unit at Goondiwindi, and an allocation of $3.5 million for maintenance across the region.
‘We will make an announcement soon about how we will spend the balance,” he said.
Mr Horan said this year’s Budget was “going ok” so far and he was hoping to keep a “bit up our sleeves”.
“If we make a surplus we can keep it and re-invest in into services or redevelopment,” he said.