Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Ken Whelan and Health Minister Geoff Wilson at the official opening of the $50m Bundaberg Hospital expansion.
Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Ken Whelan and Health Minister Geoff Wilson at the official opening of the $50m Bundaberg Hospital expansion. Mike Knott

Ribbon cut at hospital expansion

THERE was much fanfare at the Bundaberg Hospital yesterday for the official opening of the completed $50 million expansion, despite the new areas being in operation for months.

Health Minister Geoff Wilson officially opened the facility, which was named after Bundaberg Hospital founder Dr Thomas Henry May.

"We see this as an investment in health for the region," he said.

The works at the hospital has meant an upgraded maternity unit, new rehabilitation facility and the provision of more beds.

The expansion was originally slated to be for just $41 million and to be finished by the end of 2009.

But both the budget and timeframe were blown out.

Mr Wilson said the delay and overspend were both caused by changes to the original plan.

"We did expand the scope by about 25%," he said.

"We had a choice to expand the scope with additional facilities and break the budget and timeframe or keep with the plan and not provide additional services," he said.

The minister said the $50 million expansion was a part of a $1.7 billion spend on hospital works in the past 12 months.

Mr Wilson said the expansion was just the start of improvements at the hospital.

"What we want is to bring more and more services closer to home," he said.

But that money has been spent on the hospital over about five years, meaning only a small fraction of the state-wide budget came to the rum city.

Mr Wilson was also quick to remind the public about a $9 million cancer care facility, which is to start and finish construction next year.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the relatively small amount spent on infrastructure in the Bundaberg region was indicative of the government's thoughts on regional health.

"We should not have to drag them (the government) screaming to get the hospital new expansions," he said.



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