$8m announced for new facility

QUEENSLAND Health continues to leave the community, patients and families hanging on for a decision on the inpatients and overnight stays at Baralaba Hospital, but did announce $8 million for a new hospital.

Dr Coralee Barker, Central Queensland Health Service District CEO, said a public meeting in Baralaba yesterday afternoon allowed a sharing of information between concerned community members and Central Queensland Health Service District.

“Queensland Health is involved in an extensive consultation process to ensure the most appropriate arrangements for the care of the long-term aged-care residents, but patient and staff safety is a priority and not negotiable as part of this process.

“A decision will be reached when the consultation process with patients and relatives is complete,” Dr Barker said.

The CEO allayed fears of any downgrade of hospital services or staff cuts.

“The people of Baralaba have my assurance their service will not close and no current Queensland Health employees will be disadvantaged,” Dr Barker said.

She said all day services would remain, including outpatient services, immunisations, day respite and activities for community aged care and Meals on Wheels.

The facility will continue to provide 24-hour emergency care.

Dr Barker said appropriate equipment would be moved to the new facility.

Health Minister Paul Lucas announced $8 million to build a new hospital for the town while in Rockhampton on Wednesday.

Mr Lucas said it was a matter of priority for the government to replace the existing hospital with safer facilities.

The deputy premier said the costs to modify the existing building would be enormous and the government advice was in favour of the new building.

Mr Lucas said the hospital would not be closed down during the construction of the new facility.

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