June 13, 2017
by Anne Miller
After years of lobbying by residents, local councillors and State and Federal politicians, Kingaroy is finally getting a new hospital.
But it won’t happen overnight.
In the State Budget handed down on Tuesday afternoon by Treasurer Curtis Pitt, $8 million was allocated immediately to Kingaroy Hospital.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board chairman Mike Horan said another $54 million had been listed in the State Government’s Budget projections for the next three years.
“Eight million dollars is a lot of money to spend in Year 1. We have got to get cracking!” Mr Horan joked.
“It’s great news, it’s terrific news. It should be embraced by everyone.”
A new public hospital in Kingaroy has been the top priority of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service for many years.
Mr Horan said the the first phase would include developing detailed architect’s plans and estimates, and perhaps some initial ground work.
The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board’s business case for the project, which included some basic plans, has already been approved by the government’s Investment Review Committee.
The bulk of the hospital construction work will be done during Years 2-3 with the project to tail off and be finished in Year 4 (2020-21).
Mr Horan said the current hospital would continue treating patients as normal throughout the construction period.
The State Government’s “Regional Action Plan” Budget document for Wide Bay includes some specifications for the new hospital: 66 beds, 12 emergency department spaces, six consulting suites, two operating theatres and two birth suites.
Mr Horan said the Board would like input from local doctors and nurses about what they would like to see in the hospital before the final plans were drawn up.
The new hospital would be built on a separate site within the hospital grounds. After the stand-alone building is completed, Mr Horan said he expected parts of the old complex would be demolished while other parts might be kept for different uses.
The Budget papers note the key objectives for 2017-18 at Kingaroy Hospital include the building of a new dental training clinic and co-located community health service.
This project is already underway on the site of the old Farrhome building in Youngman Street and is being delivered in partnership with Griffith University and Queensland Rural Medical Education.
However, Mr Horan emphasised the funding for this project was not coming out of the $8 million hospital allocation.
[UPDATED with correction: An earlier version of this report suggested the construction of the Dental Clinic was included in the $8 million Budget allocation]