Hospital wars: Who has a plan?

A WAR of words has erupted between the LNP and Labor over who has the best plan to deliver a new level 5 hospital for Bundaberg, with both parties spruiking their proposals to voters.

The calls for a new hospital have grown louder this year with Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey listing it as one of Bundaberg Regional Council's top items for a new government to deliver.

Labor launched the first salvo yesterday when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $3 million business case for a new hospital in the region.

It will provide a detailed examination of the best options for the hospital regarding the future health needs of the region's population.

Within an hour, LNP announced a master plan for a new hospital in Bundaberg, which would be developed in consultation with the local community and health care professionals.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the business case would examine current and future health service needs; staffing requirements within the Wide Bay and Burnett region; the hospital's relationship with local private health care providers; and research and training partners.

The commitment is for two years.

"I'm proud of the fact that since being elected, the Palaszczuk Government has increased staff at Bundaberg Hospital by 11 per cent and increased funding to the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service by more than 21 per cent to a record $582 million.

The LNP's candidate for Bundaberg, David Batt, said his party was committed to taking the hospital project forward and develop an actual master plan.

The LNP argues it's a waste of taxpayer money to spend $3 million on a feasibility study into whether the region needs a new hospital or not.

"It is well documented that Bundaberg needs a new hospital,” Mr Batt said.

"Labor has committed to fund yet another feasibility study to examine whether Bundaberg needs a new hospital or they can instead refurbish the existing hospital, but the time for talk is over.”

"This is why a Tim Nicholls-led LNP Government will establish a Hospital Planning Commission to deliver the master plan.”

But Health Minister Cameron Dick hit back, saying the LNP announcement shows how little it knows about health infrastructure delivery in Queensland.

"A master plan is a concept. It lacks the detail required in a business case, such as demographic, traffic and geotechnical studies, detailed costings and clinical service planning, all of which are essential before you proceed with construction,” Mr Dick said.

"A business case is the final step in the planning process that is already well underway through the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.

"This proposal for yet more bureaucracy by the LNP will only delay the delivery of health services to the people of Bundaberg, and deny them the right in determining future services.”

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