Delay for health facilities that should already be treating
HERVEY Bay and Bundaberg will be forced to wait another 18 months for multi-million dollar cancer and dental treatment centres that were already supposed be treating patients.
In a blow to health services throughout the Wide Bay, the centres promised by Queensland Health, each of which have been in the pipelines for years, have now both been delayed again because of problems with the sites chosen for the respective centres.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive officer Adrian Pennington said in Bundaberg, extensive flooding to the planned site meant the design had to be changed so the placement of the building could remain as it was.
"The design is much higher than it was before," he said.
On the Fraser Coast, the site chosen was next to Hervey Bay Hospital and Mr Pennington said he was concerned about the positioning because it limited any future expansion of the emergency department, which would be a problem as the population of the region continued to grow.
"It was inappropriate to build there," Mr Pennington said.
"Maryborough and Hervey Bay are getting bigger, the emergency department might need to grow."
The site will now be across the road from the Hervey Bay Hospital near where the new St Stephen's Hospital will be located.
However a Queensland Health source told the Chronicle the original location of the cancer care centre had been planned so the building would be close to the Hervey Bay Hospital in case of a medical emergency involving a cancer patient.
In Bundaberg, a $9.5m dental clinic expansion was promised in 2008.
The decision to combine the clinic with a $8.3m cancer centre then initially delayed the start of construction.
In Hervey Bay, a $9.2m cancer care centre with 14 chemotherapy chairs, two isolation beds, a dedicated day procedure area and extra consultation rooms was promised and was supposed to open early this year.
Mr Pennington said both sites would now need to go through what he admitted would be a "drawn-out bureaucratic process" before building could take place, but he said he was committed to getting the centres built as soon as possible.
He said the buildings should be completed by late 2014.
"I'm not happy with that," he said, adding that he was attempting to accelerate the project.
The funds provided to each project would still be able to deliver the promised facilities, Mr Pennington said.
"We're not planning to downsize at all," he said.
"This will be a fantastic development for the Wide Bay.
"But it has not been planned in the right way."