A need to differentiate hospitals
MARYBOROUGH Hospital is unlikely to ever resume its dominant role in the region – even if UnitingCare’s St Stephen’s Hospital is forced to close its doors to acute and day surgery patients.
“The truth is it’s unaffordable and unsustainable to duplicate services within the region and if UnitingCare’s new private hospital goes ahead in Hervey Bay that will add weight to the dominant role of the existing public hospital there,” health lobbyist Dr Paul Cotton said yesterday.
Dr Cotton said it was clear the region couldn’t justify maintaining two public hospitals, “duplicating services at a very high cost”.
“The only solution is to differentiate Maryborough Base Hospital in such a way that it complements and not competes with other services being provided on the Fraser Coast and the broader region.
“The Health Focus Group has long advocated developing Maryborough Hospital into a centre of excellence and providing a range of services such as a regional ear, nose and throat hospital, urology, ophthalmology and of course a state of the art accident and emergency department appropriately staffed and equipped, including a CT scanner.”
Health Focus Group member Councillor Gerard O’Connell is calling for the establishment of a Service Delivery Plan for the region.
“That will incorporate the region’s health capacity and expectations now and into the future.
“Health is a business and this business is arguably the most important service we require. This local government area is home to nearly 95,000 people and thousands of visitors, so a regional approach to increase health services that links with the necessary medical needs of every centre is what is needed.”
Dr Cotton applauded Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s vow to turn the state’s public hospitals over to local boards, saying those who currently run our hospitals live in places that remove them from the community.
“They base their judgements on fiscal issues rather than on community needs and expectations.”
Beth Norton from the Wide Bay Health Service District yesterday said that improved access to specialist clinics such as renal, fracture and orthopaedic clinics had resulted in “a record number of outpatients being seen at Fraser Coast hospitals”.