EXPLAINED: The services pegged for upgrade with new hospital
ONE of the drivers behind the new Bundaberg hospital redevelopment project is the region's growing and ageing population and the increasing reliance on the local health system for treatment of complex conditions.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said the project was about future-proofing the region's public healthcare system and providing a new state-of-the-art hospital on a new site to better meet the community's need.
The current hospital is a Level 4, offering predominantly Level 4 services and some Level 5 services, including acute and community mental health services, acute pain and medical oncology.
Level 5 radiation oncology and some cardiac services are also provided locally for public patients through public-private partnerships.
It's still unclear exactly which overall level the new facility will be but Ms Jamieson said areas where local capability could be upgraded included: intensive care, emergency medicine, renal medicine, cardiology, general medical and surgical services, and other sub-specialties such as endocrinology and gastroenterology.
However, she said there would always be situations when patients may need to be transferred to tertiary facilities due to their clinical needs.
"It's also important to understand that higher-level specialties often can't be set up in isolation," Ms Jamieson said.
"For example, to achieve a higher capability for some services, other new support services may need to be introduced.
"In addition, in order to attract senior doctors to support new or more developed specialties, we need to be able to demonstrate that we can sustain both the volume and breadth of work to enable them to meet the requirements of their professional registration."
Ms Jamieson said WBHHS was developing a detailed business case for a new hospital that would bring more specialist services closer to home, reducing the need for many patients to travel for care outside the region.
"Our region's population is both growing and ageing, meaning more people with more complex health conditions will be relying on our health system."
While the hospital redevelopment business case is underway, WBHHS continues to make progress on the development of a regional medical program, in partnership with Central Queensland HHS, CQUniversity Australia and The University of Queensland.
"We see this program as a key enabler to growing our own doctors and improving medical workforce sustainability," Ms Jamieson said.
"While it's being developed as a separate project to the redevelopment, we'll be making sure both project teams work in close alignment to ensure optimal outcomes for both bodies of work."