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Only a NEW hospital will do for Bundaberg

Headshot of IWC CEO, Wayne Mulvany

THERE is no doubt that a new Level 5 hospital is badly needed and will be a boon for Bundaberg. But to even entertain the idea of a refurbished hospital is outrageous – it would simply be a waste of public monies.

The existing Bundaberg Hospital has a myriad of issues – it sits on and within a flood zone area and can be difficult to access in a time of disaster. The parking is appalling and it’s landlocked. Plus, its subterranean foundations must have been affected over the years by various weather conditions, including two major floods.

It’s as though this aging infrastructure is waiting for the next floods so it can slide into the river!

The refurbishment option is one of the discussions that have been held in the media which just doesn’t cut it when you look at the needs of our region around a Level 5 hospital.

Another is the suggestion that a new hospital could be placed near or alongside the CQUniversity campus, which has plans for a medical school. Next door is the local dump and nearby is the regional airport with flight paths that would go over and across a new hospital. Plus, there could be helipads joining the throng.

Is this really the healthy, peaceful environment that would suit acute care patients? A further consideration is that a flood plain nudges the back areas of the university campus itself.

These are discussions to which the general public has been privy to date, and while the partnership of a university and a hospital might seem a good fit the question has to be asked: who is driving the decision-making around the location of a new Level 5 Hospital for our region – the university or the hospital? Surely it should be the hospital?

The key considerations around the location of a NEW hospital must meet the following:

  • Flood free
  • Easily accessible
  • Centralised
  • Within a known / developing precinct where residential expansion is planned
  • Room to accommodate the additional infrastructure that will be generated by the facility
  • Support services on hand

I understand that to date funding of around $3 million has been provided to scope out and prepare a business case.

But are we really convinced that the appropriate and relevant stakeholders have been engaged and consulted to contribute to and strengthen this business case for and on behalf of both the wider community and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service?

We must not forget that the Primary Health Care sector feeds into and actively contributes to the successes of any hospital. With this in mind, as General Manager of IWC – as a leading Primary Health Care provider in this region – we support the call for a new Level 5 hospital.

But let’s get it right. There have been a lot of efforts over the years to bring this much-needed boon to the region, and we now have one decent shot at gaining a fit-for-purpose, suitably located Level 5 hospital. Make it new, and make sure we put it in the right place.