June 20, 2017
Some preliminary earthworks for Kingaroy’s new $62 million general hospital could begin as early as this financial year, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board chairman Mike Horan said on Monday.
Mr Horan was accompanying Health Minister Cameron Dick on a tour around the current hospital and the site for the new building.
The new facility will be built at the immediate rear of the current hospital, rising up the hill beside the Griffith Uni training centre.
This position will enable health services to continue to be provided uninterrupted in the old building during construction.
However, the final complex will also incorporate a bit of the old as well as the new.
Mr Horan said the most recent wing of the current hospital – the brick building on the eastern side of the entry ramp known as the “boomerang building” – will be incorporated into the final design as an outpatients clinic.
Eventually, the main hospital building – built during World War II – will be demolished.
Minister Dick, who was also shown around the main wards and the Emergency Department, said the current hospital was beyond its useful life.
Mr Horan told Mr Dick he had been absolutely delighted when the announcement about Kingaroy Hospital was made in the State Budget.
He repeated that a new hospital had been the number one priority of the Board for many years.
Mr Dick agreed, saying Kingaroy Hospital had more than 15,000 presentations every year in the Emergency Department as well as being an important maternity facility.
“Kingaroy Hospital is also very important for the training of doctors in rural areas,” Mr Horan said.
“On behalf of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, thank you very much. Our staff are absolutely over the moon.”
South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, who said her family had many connections with the hospital over the years, joined in the praise: “Thank you Minister for this great news story for our region.”
Mr Dick said the new hospital would not just be a health asset, it would be a community asset; and the construction would also create local jobs.
And he reassured any doubters that funding would be available for the continued construction in future years.
The new hospital is expected to be ready to take patients in 2021.
Mr Dick said the project would increase the range of surgical services and improve the hospital’s role as a hub for trauma, paediatric, obstetric, rehabilitation and mental health services.
After leaving Kingaroy, Mr Dick and his party visited Cherbourg Hospital where they inspected the new Palliative Care unit which will be officially opened soon.