Reprieve for lung, heart programs as hospital debate rages
MEMBER for Bundaberg David Batt has renewed calls for a new hospital for Bundaberg.
The move came as health programs HeartStart and LungSmart were set to relocate from the Branyan GP Superclinic to Bundaberg Hospital at the end of the year.
They were originally set to relocate in July, but a six-month reprieve was announced yesterday afternoon.
Speaking before the reprieve was announced, Mr Batt said shifting the programs would strain the ageing hospital.
"It has been announced the HeartStart and LungSmart programs which are currently located at Branyan GP Superclinic will return to Bundaberg base hospital,” Mr Batt said.
"These programs have helped over 9000 people in our region, and I fear that the move back to the base may cause the programs to deteriorate because the hospital simply can't accommodate for them.
"The gym at the base is smaller and the limited parking means patients will have to park hundreds of metres away from the room where the programs will take place.”
Mr Batt said accessibility would be a major hurdle.
"Many patients will need a wheelchair to get to and from their car and hospital, whereas at the current location, they just park downstairs, get in the lift and step straight into the room to do the exercise, which is how it should be - accessible and easy,” he said.
"These patients are doing it really tough, we need to put them first and make it easier instead of harder for them to live their lives the best they can.
"If we built the desperately needed hospital, we could properly incorporate programs like this to make life easier for all patients, families, carers and healthcare staff.”
Health Minister Steven Miles said a new or rebuilt Bundaberg Hospital would service the community for at least the next 50 years.
"So we want to make sure we get it right,” Dr Miles said.
Dr Miles said the government committed $3 million over the next two years to develop a business case because it wanted to ensure future Bundaberg residents continued to have access to world-class healthcare.”
"The Member for Bundaberg is once again having a go at the hard-working staff at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service,” he said.
"He clearly doesn't understand the process behind planning such a significant infrastructure project.”
Dr Miles added that the HeartStart and LungSmart programs would continue to operate from Branyan GP Superclinic for the year.
Mr Batt said moving the services would not be a simple task.
"I can understand the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service are continually looking to refine their services, but for these patients there is so much more to it than that,” he said.
Mr Batt said Bundaberg Hospital was more than 100 years old and was susceptible to flooding.
In the lead-up to the state election, the LNP pledged to fund a new hospital if it won office, while Labor pledged to fund a business case into a new or refurbished hospital.
Late yesterday afternoon Member for Burnett Stephen Burnett said he had been advised that the contract for the two programs had been extended.
"The HeartStart cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs contract through Bundaberg Health Promotions has been extended for a further six months to December 30,” Mr Bennett said.
Read more in Monday's edition of the NewsMail.