Regional hospitals get mere minutes in day-long debate

IN A debate about health system spending that lasted an entire day, regional hospitals were mentioned for just a few minutes.

The Queensland Heath parliamentary committee sat down with Health Minister Cameron Dick and other health officials on Wednesday and quizzed them about the health budget.

The discussions went all day - from 9am to 5pm - with a few breaks.

Major hospital projects in south-east Queensland, nurse-to-patient ratios and wait times made up a large chunk of the discussions, and Mr Dick gave a quick overview of regional health areas in the morning session.

Rockhampton Hospital, in the Central Queensland health service area, was discussed for about a minute.

Mr Dick said money had been set aside for expanding the Rockhampton hospital and mental health care unit and work on an intensive care unit and rooftop helipad.

Gladstone Hospital was briefly mentioned - for three seconds - when Mr Dick spoke about how $180 million over four years was for fixing outdated hospitals, including Gladstone's emergency department.

Mackay was discussed for less than a minute, when Mr Dick said the health service's operating budget was about $327.7 million this financial year.

He also said the Mackay Base Hospital's carpark refurbishment would be completed this financial year.

Mr Dick also spoke about the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service area for about 50 seconds.

He mentioned the hope to improve the area's ophthalmology services.

Hervey Bay's hospital revamp was mentioned for about seven seconds, and Mr Dick did not elaborate about Bundaberg hospital.

But a budget document said Bundaberg topped the country for treating patients in the emergency department in a timely manner.

Mr Dick also said about 940 construction jobs would be created from the $180 million project to refurbish outdated hospitals in regional Queensland, including Roma, Hervey Bay and Gladstone hospitals.


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