LOCATION, LOCATION: Minister visits, discusses new hospital
HEALTH Minister Steven Miles held discussions with Mayor Jack Dempsey and executives of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service this morning, determining on how to proceed with the Level 5 Bundaberg Hospital's advanced business case.
Cr Dempsey said it had been a good meeting with Mr Miles regarding the commitment to the hospital, and that they shared ideas on how to attract more doctors and nurses to the region, which would be needed when the hospital was completed "around 2026-27”.
They had also discussed health education programs for children.
"I appreciate Mr Miles taking the time to consult with Council on these issues,” Cr Dempsey said.
For the health service, the priority would be on determining the land it would be built on.
Offers of saleable land in the community was welcomed by the health service, but all options need to be tested in line with criteria.
Mr Miles said while visiting the current Bundaberg Hospital that he wanted to discuss the process with Cr Dempsey in person.
"We haven't had the chance to do that face-to-face for a while, and so today's just a chance for me to be underground, talk to these guys, and talk to the mayor, and make sure you have everything you need to move forward.”
Mr Miles was referring to Wide Bay Hospital Health Service chairwoman Peta Jamieson and chief executive Adrian Pennington, who were instrumental in making the case for a new hospital, who all sat with the NewsMail to discuss the ongoing business case.
Mr Miles said the $6.7m that would be spent on the advanced business case had been in the Qld Health budget, in an allocated section set aside for these types of reports.
Building Qld's study would size up the available land in the area and determine what was suited for the hospital's needs.
"It's important that we test what is available to make sure we get the best option,” Mr Miles said.
When asked if there were many options for land suited to a hospital, he said "that's something we'll get to in good time.”
Mr Miles said the health service will regularly meet with stakeholders. "I'll be checking in, to see it's on track.”
Ms Jamieson said the planning stage did mean a commitment for a hospital, and that land and cost were the key focuses.
The health service wanted offers of saleable land so that the best option could be chosen.
She acknowledged a previous offer by Bundaberg businessman John Santalucia for 10ha of land in Ashfield.
"But we don't know what other private holdings are available.
"They need to meet certain criteria...in terms of the size of the land, not impeded by flood of course, access.
"There's a whole series of criteria that will be made publicly available for them to consider before they say 'my land is a good piece of land.'”
Ms Jamieson said the meeting with the Bundaberg Regional Council was about an overview of the process, mainly because the health service did not yet know the results of the detailed plan.
"Once we get to the stage of refining the options for land, council gets involved in terms of a planning perspective, giving advice about elements to do with associated infrastructure requirements,” she said.
"Whether it's got to do with access from roads, if there's a council owned road, if a block of land adjourns.
"We do need to engage with council at the appropriate time once we get to a more finite identification of the land.”