Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Mike Knott BUN310519ANA13

EXCLUSIVE: Premier gives new Bundy Hospital the green light

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed the search will now begin for a new site for the Bundaberg Hospital.

She said the government had reviewed the preliminary business case for a Level 5 hospital and that it made sense to move the site from Bourbong St, instead of upgrading the existing infrastructure.

"I can advise everyone that now there is a key endorsement for a new site for the hospital to be found," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The new location will be determined in a detailed analysis which could take between a year and 18 months to complete.

It was yet unclear how long it would take for the new hospital, which will be a game changer for the region, to be operational.

Ms Palaszczuk said the criteria for the site would consider the size, flood levels, accessibility, and the closeness to the population.

"The community has made it very clear - I have listened to the community - that the size and population here is outgrowing the existing hospital," the Premier said while drinking a coffee in a Bundaberg cafe yesterday.

"We need to make plans, and as a government we plan for the future.

"I've always maintained health services are definitely a priority of our government and we need to have access to good quality health care."

The analysis will explore the necessary size and complexity of the hospital, as well as what would need to be in it.

"We have to get the advice of clinicians, the advice of people building that hospital, and car-parking, and everything like that needs to be taken into account," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The business case would also examine the number of staff needed at the new hospital.

"The building case will canvas all of that," she said.

"Of course building the new hospital means new jobs."

The Wide Bay Hospital and Health board chair Peta Jamieson and chief executive Adrian Pennington submitted the preliminary business case in relation to the feasibility of the hospital earlier this year.

They were meticulous in putting together a compelling case for a level 5 hospital that will transform health services.

The NewsMail has previously reported that 1000 jobs could be created through the construction of a Level 5 hospital, and generate between 500 to 800 additional permanent health related jobs.

While there were several Level 5 services available at the existing Bundaberg hospital, the new one would improve the health accessibility in the Wide Bay for the next 50 years.

It is expected to increase the annual spending at the hospital by up to $200m, and will give a huge boost to bed numbers.



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