By Aaron Goodwin
The Queensland Labor Government and LNP clashed in Bundaberg about the new Bundaberg Hospital, with accusations of broken promises, a ramping crisis and a lack of transparency.
Both the Opposition Leader David Crisafulli and Deputy Premier Steven Miles stopped over on 25 August, where conflicting comments about the new hospital flew thick and fast.
The $6.7 million detailed business for the delivery of a new state-of-the-art public hospital, delivering level 5 services, on a new site in Bundaberg is nearly complete.
Mr Crisafulli spoke of ambulance ramping jumping to uncontrollable levels in the Wide Bay, with QLD Health quarterly data showing ramping at Bundaberg Hospital has reached 24 percent of patients, which is an increase of 7.9 percent in the past 12 months.
“Labor is losing control of the health system,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“Paramedics and nurses are spending too much of their shift in the back of an ambulance. They didn’t sign up for that.
“The LNP has put solutions on the table including better triaging, more beds and the introduction of real-time data for emergency departments.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said 100 percent of the most critically sick and injured Category 1 patients are seen within the clinically recommended time of two minutes.
“All our staff do a fantastic job, but the pressure across the system needs to be acknowledged,” Ms D’Ath said.
“EDs and hospitals right around the world, including Australia, are seeing significant stress, and COVID-19 has added another level of pressure.
“Last financial year, our emergency departments saw 2.4 million patients.
”That is up 321,000 patients, or 15.4 percent on the previous financial year.”
Mr Crisafulli said he will hold the State Goverment to account for the delivery of a level five hospital.
”Not once have I heard Bundaberg’s State Member say a thing about this in Parliament,” Mr Crisafulli said.
”He should be standing up saying, this is the commitment made to my city and I’m going to hold my government to account.
”I think the people will deliver him what he deserves.
”We are going to hold the government’s feet to the fire, until the people of Bundy get the level of service and category of hospital they were promised during that election campaign.”
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said the Premier’s promise of a new Bundaberg Hospital with level 5 services will be delivered.
”What the Premier promised is what will be delivered, there is no ifs or buts about it,” Mr Smith said.
”For David Crissafulli to write a press release from his mansion on the Gold Coast last night, instead of coming along with me, doing a night shift with the paramedics here like I’ve done for six hours.
”Actually to talk to them because I can tell you, the nurses and the doctors on those shifts, they don’t want David Crisafulli and the LNP government returning to Queensland.”
Recently Burnett MP Stephen Bennett accused the government of back-flipping on its commitment to a new hospital with level 5 services, when the Health Minister changed the term from ‘Level 5 Hospital’ in the 2020 State Election.
”We have real stories, we have real people in our community that are suffering everyday, as a result of the crisis that engulfs Bundaberg Hospital,” Mr Bennett said.
”I want to back up our leader’s calls for real transparency and honesty for the level five promised hospital.
”It has been a disgrace, there has been more spin on this story and people are getting dizzy with the nonsense of transparency around the base hospital. ”
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said the term ‘Level 5 hospital’ is a shorthand way of saying that a facility provides predominantly Level 5 services, as defined by the Clinical Services Capability Framework (CSCF).
”We acknowledge the Level 5 term was used in earlier phases of project planning,” Ms Jamieson said.
”As we’ve moved into more detailed planning stages – including public consultation – we’ve moved away from using technical jargon such as CSCF levels in an effort to provide clearer explanations, to ensure our communities understand what the proposed changes will mean for them.
”Currently, Bundaberg Hospital provides a small number of Level 5 services (such as Cancer Care or Mental Health). It is intended that many more of these higher-level services would be delivered by the proposed new hospital. ”
In the 2021/22 State Budget there is $15 million allocated for: ”the purchase of the preferred site for the proposed Bundaberg Hospital Redevelopment and associated project costs to enable detailed site planning in preparation for the first stage of the project.”
The preferred site is a 60-hectare site on the Ring Road near the airport.