Bundaberg Regional Council is calling on the next Queensland Government to deliver a new Level 5 Bundaberg Hospital.
The project is one of Council’s 2020 advocacy priorities, described as critical economic infrastructure for the future growth and development of the Bundaberg Region.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said, with a site already selected for a new hospital, all political parties should commit to delivering the project.
“A new Level 5 hospital isn’t just a wishlist item, it’s essential infrastructure that is necessary to keep pace with our growing community,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“We are quickly becoming a central hub for the Wide Bay region, similar to the role Rockhampton plays in the Central Queensland area, and as such our new hospital should have at least as many services as the Rockhampton Hospital.”
Mayor Dempsey said the new hospital would be a “once-in-a-generation game changer” for the region.
“This project would provide improved health outcomes for current and future residents, but it would also mean jobs and economic benefits for the entire community for many years to come,” he said.
“It must be noted that the current Queensland Government has already made welcome progress on this project by identifying a site and developing a business case.
“But business cases won’t deliver a new hospital nor will it give peace of mind to the many residents travelling hundreds of kilometres for essential medical services on a regular basis.
“What our community needs is a definite commitment from all parties to deliver a new hospital for the Bundaberg Region with the capacity, from day one, to meet the future health needs of our growing population.
“The concern is that limited or staged funding could result in the hospital being delivered in multiple stages over decades.
“We can’t afford to wait that long. Construction needs to begin in the next term of government.”
Resident Della Jenkins knows all too well the financial and emotional toll that travelling for medical treatment can cause.
For 11 years she’s made regular train trips to various specialists in Brisbane and now with added medical concerns is facing even more frequent travel requirements.
“If I have to stay overnight down there, they only pay a percentage of a motel and then I have to get from the hospital to the train station and vice versa, then I have to feed myself while I'm down there,” Della said.
“Living only on a pension, those are expenses that I really don't want to have to pay.”
Della believes a new hospital is essential, in fact she said there was “no two ways about that”.
“And not just a hospital that replicates what we have now, we need a hospital with the services that we all need,” she said.
“I'm not just the only one that travels I know a lot of people travel for all different tests … so to build a hospital that would include all that in it, I think would be one of the best things they can do for Bundaberg.
“It would be wonderful if people like me and other pensioners out there, we can know that we have the services we need here.
“I know that Bundaberg and areas are growing so much, for everybody concerned we need it. It's overdue, very overdue.”
The site that’s been selected for the new hospital is an environmental reserve and Mayor Dempsey said the Government needed to identify an appropriate offset.
View Council’s 2020 advocacy priorities here.