Maryborough Hospital.
Maryborough Hospital. Jocelyn Watts

Lack of appropriate service at heart of hospital dispute

AN AMBULANCE transported a man 31km to Hervey Bay Bay Hospital following a car crash that occurred just metres away from Maryborough Hospital.

A lack of an appropriate service at the Maryborough Hospital was cited as the reason for the need to turn him away.

A 37-year-old man drove into a parked car on the corner of Neptune St and Reed Ave on Tuesday - right opposite the Maryborough hospital.

His received a broken arm and to treat the fracture in surgery, a half-hour ambulance ride to Hervey Bay was called for at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of dollars.

A QAS spokesperson said even if the man were taken in at the Maryborough facility, he would have needed a transfer to Hervey Bay.

"Due to the severity of the arm injury, a decision was made to transport the patient direct to Hervey Bay Hospital where specialist orthopedic review and surgery was able to be provided," he said.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health spokesperson said that Hervey Bay was the only hospital in the region that offered emergency surgery.

"Often after a road trauma, a patient may need a full assessment including a CT scan and may also require emergency orthopedic surgery, which is available at Hervey Bay Hospital," they said.

"Maryborough Hospital has a fully functional emergency department, including the facilities to treat simple and compound fractures." Elective surgeries are also possible in Maryborough.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders is rallying for an upgrade of Maryborough Hospital which would include the ability to do emergency surgeries.

He said Tuesday's incident was a prime example of why.

"We have got to make sure we have a fully functioning accident and emergency department in Maryborough," he said.

"With major industries here in town, what if a critical accident was to occur." Mr Saunders said that under his proposed upgrade, the motorist with the broken arm would have been able to get treatment at Maryborough.

"There would be an addition of staff at the hospital along with the upgrade," Mr Saunders said.

A WBHHS spokesperson said the reason that emergency surgery is unavailable in Maryborough is because WBHHS has spread out services over Fraser Coast's hospital and avoids too much double-up.

"Duplicating the same level of acute care at two hospitals 30km apart would not be efficient or viable for a population of about 100,000 such as the Fraser Coast's," the spokesperson said.

"For instance, while a patient requiring emergency orthopedic surgery would need to be treated at Hervey Bay Hospital, another patient requiring hospital rehabilitation after a stroke would need to be cared for at Maryborough Hospital."

Minister for Health Cameron Dick toured the Maryborough emergency unit earlier this month.

"There are clear pressures there, in what's happening in the emergency department," he said.

Hervey Bay Hospital's emergency department is currently undergoing a $44M upgrade.

"We knew Hervey Bay Hospital's emergency department has been under pressure so we responded to that," Mr Dick said.

Will the Government respond to Maryborough's emergency department stresses?

"We will take advice ... and work on it with the WBHHS board," Mr Dick said.

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