Weekend closures not on agenda

Claims that the Wide Bay Health Service District had considered closing Maryborough Hospital at weekends have been rejected by its northern cluster manager, Beth Norton.

“The health service is always looking at ways to improve service delivery,” Ms Norton said in the wake of comments made by Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen.

“It is an impossibility to close Maryborough Hospital on weekends as it has an emergency department and a range of other services that operate at all times.

“The community can have every confidence in both Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals’ abilities to provide the best possible care.”

Mr Sorensen (pictured) said he had seen a health service business document dating back to March that suggested a five-day week at the hospital had been considered.

The concept, he said, was rejected because occupancy levels at the hospital would make it difficult to implement.

“They’re being pressured from the government to cut costs. I don’t believe it’s acceptable in this region. There must be a lot of pressure put on them,” Mr Sorensen said.

“You can’t go cutting costs. The poor buggers are working extremes as it is. How can they keep cutting costs?”

Mr Sorensen said he had been shocked by what he had learned about the state of the health system since his election to parliament earlier this year.

“Since I’ve been in this job I’ve been shocked at the waiting times. We’ve got to reduce the waiting times.

“People going on to waiting lists just clog up the system. The first thing that has to be done is to reduce waiting times for surgery.

“That would free up money and doctors’ time.

“I also think we could organise more doctors even if we had to go out to the private sector to get them.

“I’m seeing a whole different side since I was elected. It goes deeper than I ever thought it would.

“It must be hard on the doctors and nurses because they’re copping it every day of the week.”

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