Health Minister Lawrence Springborg
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg john mccutcheon

Health facility closures last resort: Springborg

HEALTH Minister Lawrence Springborg has not ruled out further major restructures and potential health facility closures only saying closures would be an absolute last resort.

The comments come a week after Mr Springborg and Premier Campbell Newman confirmed the Moura Hospital and Eidsvold Hopital would not be shut down.

The small community of Moura, west of Gladstone, was up in arms after hearing rumours their 10-bed hospital would close.

At a community meeting, one solution flagged was merging services with the local general practitioners clinic to form a multi-service health centre.

Asked whether other small town facilities could be in line for similar changes or worse, Mr Springborg said the government was not moving to close hospitals.

"There are issues in the communities where the (health and hospital boards) have to work with the communities to come up with sustainable health solutions," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"The government is not moving to close hospitals but we do have issues to work through with those communities.

"I am very heartened by both resolutions from both meetings which call upon the board to work with the community to find sustainable solutions for the future.

"But the boards cant ignore some of the challenges we have like low occupancy in hospitals, significnat numbers of staff, people automatically being tranferred to other hospitsls and not only that but difficulty in attracting doctors."

The Rural Doctors Association of Queensland has raised concern recently about the fate of many small town hospitals following the approach to Moura and Eidsvold.

Moura Hospital saw about 340 inpatients during the last financial year - less than one per day.

Mr Springborg said the government expected health and hospital boards to turn to closures as a last resort.

"The governments expectations with boards is that they will properly consult and they will be sensible and any closure or down grading of any facility will be an absolute last resort where there is no alternative," he said.

"Frankly, there are lots of alternatives."



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