Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board chairperson Peta Jamieson.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board chairperson Peta Jamieson. Brian Cassidy

Health service greets hospital announcement with open arms

THE State Government's multi-million dollar commitment to the detailed business case for a new Bundaberg Hospital has been met with open arms by Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services board chair Peta Jamieson.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced $6.7 million for a detailed business case for a new hospital today and Ms Jamieson said the funding meant the work could begin on finding a site for the new facility and possible design.

"The business case itself, the $6.7 million will be used to actually complete two key elements of work,” she said.

"The first of course is the expression of interest phase - we need to look at whether there are any private holdings of land that may be available and suitable for a hospital to be located on. But that must meet certain criteria of course and we also need to explore state owned land as well.

"The other element of work is part of the detailed business case phase is making sure we get going on developing a design of a new hospital.”

She said the design must have contemporary standards, engage with the clinicians and engage with the community once they have a proposed design.

Ms Jamieson said she was happy with the 2020 time frame for deciding on a new site, stating that getting it right was paramount for the longevity of this facility.

"The premier when she visited some two weeks ago, made a commitment that the detailed business case would take 12 to 18 months, so within that time frame as she has stated we will definitely have a new site being identified,” she said.

"Ultimately once we move through the detailed business case phase, the government needs to consider that document itself and look at all the elements of that, then we need to move through the tender phase. The tender phase will take another say 12 months and we get into the construction.

"We must, as we have done to date, ensure we are following that comprehensive process set out by the state government.

"This is a building that's going to meet the health needs for our community for the next 30,40, 50 years - so we must get it right and we can't rush the process.”

She said they would be involved in the tender process that would be led by Building Queensland and other government departments, but there will be jobs and lots of them.

Throughout the preliminary business case, Ms Jamieson said there would be at least 1000 jobs created through the construction phase and then once we have a new hospital is operational there would be potentially 800 new positions created.

Mikayla Haupt