Bundaberg Hospital has gained 17 beds between 2007 and 2010.
Bundaberg Hospital has gained 17 beds between 2007 and 2010.

Bed numbers drop across the region

THE number of hospital beds in the Bundaberg region has dropped by 11 in the past three years, according to Right to Information documents obtained by the LNP.

According to the documents, the number of beds in the Bundaberg and Childers hospitals has increased, but beds in Biggenden, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Gin Gin and Monto have decreased.

The figures compare bed numbers from June 2007 to June 2010.

Bundaberg Hospital fared the best, with an extra 17 beds during that time, while Childers managed an extra two.

But Biggenden Hospital had the biggest drop, losing 11 beds, followed by Monto Hospital, which lost six.

Eidsvold Hospital dropped from 11 beds to six.

But Sunshine Coast Wide-Bay Health Service District northern cluster manager Beth Norton said bed numbers at the Biggenden and Eidsvold hospitals had not changed.

“It is important to acknowledge that the number of hospital beds at Monto (20 to 14) and Gayndah (18 to 14) was reduced due to fall in occupancy rates, where there was an increase from 18 to 20 beds at Childers Hospital,” she said.

Ms Norton said the number of beds at the Gin Gin Hospital had dropped from 10 to six when the new hospital opened in 2008.

“This reflected the hospital's ability to move elderly patients out of acute care beds at the hospital and into the co-located Kolan Gardens Aged Care Facility,” she said.

“This is more appropriate care for these patients.”

Ms Norton said work on the expansion was well under way, which would create a number of new beds in the area, including a 20-bed rehabilitation ward that would provide four more beds.

“Stage 4 of the works will include a conversion of space previously occupied by the emergency department for pharmacy and other clinical services, and refurbishment of the area vacated by the rehabilitation ward, to provide an additional 20-bed medical ward,” she said.

LNP health spokesman Mark McArdle said the figures showed the state government had failed to keep up with population growth.

“Stagnant or declining bed numbers in regional and rural areas is a major concern. Just as concerning is the failure of bed numbers to keep up with population growth across our larger hospitals,” he said.

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