December 3, 2020

The construction cost of the new Kingaroy Hospital has blown out to $92.5 million on the eve of the first patients being shifted into the new facility.

When the first funds were released in the 2017-18 State Budget, the total cost was projected to be $62 million.

Then in November 2018, then-Health Minister Dr Steven Miles announced an extra $11.9 million had been put towards the project to make the hospital “digital-ready”, taking the overall cost to $73.9 million.

However, an information sheet released to accompany this week’s State Budget listed the total cost at $92.5 million, with no explanation as to how the extra funds were being spent.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington described it as “massive cost blowout” and said she would be seeking a full briefing from the Darling Downs Health Board.

Mrs Frecklington, who was ejected from State Parliament on Wednesday after querying the lack of increased mental health facilities in the new complex, said there had been no announcement of extra services at the hospital.

Queensland Health has been approached for comment.

UPDATE December 4: A Queensland Health spokesperson said the Kingaroy Hospital redevelopment is being delivered in a staged approach and as such received an additional funding commitment of $18.6 million in April 2020 for the next phase of works.

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In a media statement released on Thursday, Darling Downs Health Board Chair Mike Horan AM said the new hospital would increase the number of patient treatment spaces from 46 to 66 and “improve the hospital’s capacity as a hub for trauma, paediatric, obstetric, rehabilitation and mental health services”.

“This includes four treatment spaces for assessing mental health patients, increased security, staff who have been trained in supporting patients with complex mental health care needs, and a secure-access room staff can use as a safe room if needed,” he said.

Recently appointed Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the project was on schedule and had created about 72 full-time equivalent jobs during construction.

“Services began moving to the new building this week as workers complete painting and fit out,” she said.

“This includes an expanded emergency department, a tele-chemo unit, a new day surgery unit with state-of-the-art operating theatres, modern birthing suites and modern wards allowing better patient care and comfort.

“This time next year we also will be getting very close to opening the final stage of this new facility, which will house an expanded renal dialysis unit, and increased specialist outpatient services.”

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