Private patients will be transferred to the new Hervey Bay private hospital when St Stephen’s in Maryborough closes its doors.
Private patients will be transferred to the new Hervey Bay private hospital when St Stephen’s in Maryborough closes its doors. Karleila Thomsen

St Stephen's closure a sad blow but we need to stay positive

EDITORIAL: At a time when privatisation of public services is an increasing concern, the closure of St Stephen's private hospital in Maryborough is particularly telling.

The private sector is just as vulnerable to financial pressure as the public sector - if not more so - and our region's private and public hospitals don't work in isolation from each other.

For example, last year Fraser Coast Health Services funded 200 ophthalmology patients to have their cataracts removed in the private sector.

Health care professionals are also lured here because they have the opportunity of working in both public and private hospitals.

We are fortunate here that there will be no disruption of treatment, because private patients will simply be transferred to the new Hervey Bay private hospital when St Stephen's Maryborough closes its doors.

But it is easy to see the potential danger in any hospital closures.

The management of St Stephen's has fought long and hard to save the Maryborough facility.

While the closure is another sad blow, the overall outcome must remain positive: the new hospital will be able to provide services that would not have been possible at Maryborough.

Having the new 96-bed "digital hospital" at Hervey Bay means it will not be subject to the same kind of pressures as the Maryborough branch and it will bolster the strength of our health community.



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