Indigenous centre to go but Eidsvold Hospital to be spared

EFFIECIENCIES AND SAVINGS: Chief Executive of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington announced service changes in the region.
EFFIECIENCIES AND SAVINGS: Chief Executive of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington announced service changes in the region. Mike Knott

Update: During a media conference in Emerald on Friday morning, when questioned about the potential closure of Moura hospital, Premier Campbell Newman said Eidsvold Hospital would not close.

"It will not close and neither will Eidsvold," he said.

"We're committed to maintain health services in those communities."

The comments came after Wide Bay Health and Hospital Services announced the hospital would be folded into the Mundubbera multi-function health centre 35km away, leaving behind only five primary care beds.

Also on Thursday, WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington said Yaralla Residential Aged Care Service would be transferred to a private or not-for-profit organisation via an expression of interest process.

"I can give absolute assurance to our current residents at Yaralla that all 96 beds will remain open at the facility, and that the new owners will be bound to meet the same accredited standards currently provided by staff at Yaralla," he said.

Earlier: Sweeping changes to the Wide Bay region's health services were unveiled yesterday, with the Indigenous Community Health Service set to go and Eidsvold Hospital to be turned into a "multipurpose health facility".

A media conference called yesterday by Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services laid the plans on the table, with chief executive Adrian Pennington saying they had to find budget cuts of $4.9million because of reduced federal funding.

He said he could not guarantee that no jobs would be lost.

The changes would see the end of Eidsvold Hospital as it exists, and the community has already voiced its anger.

Eidsvold Hospital auxiliary secretary Dot Hamilton has said the hospital is the medical hub of the area.

Mr Pennington said the budget savings were not the sole cause of the Eidsvold Hospital changes - the difficulty in getting doctors and nurses was a major factor.

"We've tried everything for the past two years," he said.

Of the potential job losses, he said: "Once we've agreed to the posts at Mundubbera we would advertise those posts and staff at Eidsvold would have first call on those posts. They therefore can transfer into a post elsewhere into our organisation or they would be made compulsory redundant."

The Indigenous Community Health Service would be merged into the Medicare Local in Bundaberg, "removing duplication".

Later, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg issued a release saying efforts would be made to attract medical staff to Eidsvold.

The changes announced yesterday also included selling off Yaralla Residential Aged Care Facility.

Topics:  eidsvold hospital, indigenous community health centre



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