Health minister Paul Lucas with dialysis patient 75 yr old Glynn Turner from Maryborough in the renal unit at Hervey Bay Hospital.
Health minister Paul Lucas with dialysis patient 75 yr old Glynn Turner from Maryborough in the renal unit at Hervey Bay Hospital. Alistair Brightman

Wide Bay made new health district

THE MANAGEMENT of health services on the Fraser Coast is about to become more focused after Health Minister Paul Lucas announced a stand alone Wide Bay Health District yesterday.

The new body will come into force from November 1 as the previous Sunshine Coast Wide Bay Health Service District is split, replacing the northern and southern clusters.

The northern cluster, incorporating Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, North Burnett and Miriam Vale, will become a genuine Wide Bay health district, with a new CEO expected to be appointed by mid-October.

“I need a CEO who can concentrate on Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg,” Mr Lucas said at Hervey Bay Hospital yesterday. “The Fraser Coast is growing. Bundaberg is growing. The Sunshine Coast is growing.

“The person with senior level responsibility will not have to divide their time around the different health discussions. This is about closer management within the Wide Bay district, which will be bigger than Mackay.”

Current CEO Kevin Hegarty will remain the chief executive of the Sunshine Coast district.

“The Sunshine Coast is growing significantly, and so is the Wide Bay. This is about making sure we have a CEO who is focusing on both regions.

“It's a structural announcement about how we manage things.”

The new district structure will be strongly aligned with the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement and the implementation of Local Hospital Networks.

The new structure will not involve any extra staffing in the Wide Bay Health District, with the local management of health services in the district the primary focus.

Mr Lucas's announcement came hot on the heels of a $5 million pledge to secure Maryborough Hospital's future.

This includes a $3 million satellite six-chair renal unit that signals an end to long, tedious trips to Gympie for Fraser Coast dialysis patients.

A buoyant health minister revealed that four chairs had been recommended by a clinical audit of services to the region, before visiting the renal unit at Hervey Bay Hospital where three of the four patients were from Maryborough.

“Most of the severe cases will be treated at Hervey Bay. But in any case patients won't be travelling to Gympie for treatment.”

On Thursday night Mr Lucas also announced a $1.8 million, 22-bed specialist rehabilitation unit at Maryborough Hospital by mid 2011.



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