Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Fears raised over Bundaberg’s split hospital system

Local MP’s have raised the alarm on an unsustainable, clinically dangerous, and unpractical proposed split hospital service in Bundaberg.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett and Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt have highlighted these concerns following community feedback in the wake of yesterday’s split service announcement.

“While I welcome all announcements that will deliver more health services in Bundaberg, this statement has posed more questions than answers,” said Mr Bennett.

“Serious concerns around staffing, ambulances and diagnostics have been raised and it’s vital we have the answers before taxpayer’s money is wasted or worse, health services decline.

“In terms of staffing, how will doctors be able to travel and cover multiple sites at night? How many new doctors will the hospitals need to cover out of hours? How will surgeons on one site support emergency departments?

“When it comes to practicalities, which site will pathology, radiology and cardiology be on. If it’s on the old site, will inpatients have to be transferred for diagnostics?

“This could then lead to a need for more ambulances, not to mention the hassle this creates for patients.”

Mr Bennett said these concerns regarding a split site hospital were raised back in 2019.

“Three years ago, I spoke to the previous WBHHS CEO regarding the feasibility of a potential split hospital, Mr Pennington unequivocally ruled it out.

“It was not an option as it was not operational cost efficient with a huge overspend on two security teams, catering departments and maintenance.

“Most alarming was the fact that it would leave the town exposed with a lack of medical staff and therefore, be clinically unsafe. 

“So I ask, what has changed?”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the people of Bundaberg have been continually misled by the Member for Bundaberg and the Palaszczuk Government over the new hospital.

“What our town was promised by the Member for Bundaberg was a new Level 5 Hospital. Now we find out there will be two hospital sites and no additional specialist services that an actual Level 5 Hospital would have.

“The Member for Bundaberg needs to explain why the new hospital is costing so much for so little?

“Which hospital will house which services? Where will the maternity ward be located? What happens if a patient turns up at the wrong hospital? This is a recipe for disaster and our community deserves better.

“The Palaszczuk Government has shown once again that it does not care about people that live outside the South-East corner and takes us for fools. We all know we were promised a Level 5 Hospital and it is not what we are getting.”

Mr Bennett said the need for a previously promised Level 5 hospital is higher than ever.

Bundaberg has seen almost a doubling of its population since 2011 so it’s vital we get all the services that come with a ‘Level 5 Hospital’ name tag.

“That’s what we were promised, so that’s what I will continue to fight for.

“A hospital that will not only meet the needs of our community, but will educate our future doctors, surgeons, and specialists.

“Bundaberg and the Burnett deserves better.”

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