Perrett demands action on hospital master plan
THE future of Gympie Hospital (and pleas for a CT scanner) remains uncertain this week, with no indication from the new State Government that the master plan will be released any time soon or that Gympie will ever get its own CT scanner.
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett asked Health Minister Cameron Dick in Parliament last week if the plan would be released this year.
The minister has 30 days to answer so an answer is expected no later than mid-August, Mr Perrett said.
"The Gympie Hospital master plan was due for release in February this year," he said.
"It is expected to highlight the problems of building maintenance, the need for new facilities and the co-location of a CT scanner on the Gympie Hospital site.
"This is the second time I have had to ask a Question on Notice on the matter because when I asked in May whether he would even release the plan he refused to give a commitment.
"In that answer he also put up another roadblock in its release with the advice that said it would need to identify funding in a context of statewide priorities.
"There was no mention of the plan in the Budget.
"All of this has a strong whiff of the government putting our local hospital on the back burner.
"The minister does not appear to want to tell the people of Gympie when or even if the government will release the plan.
"The minister has ducked and weaved and refuses to let the Gympie community know what is happening about our hospital.
"It is now six months since the election and the Gympie community has not seen any evidence that the government plans to release the hospital master plan."
"Gympie has waited long enough.
"We need to see that plan because it will address the future of primary health services in this region. It should also go to identifying changes that will help to reduce patient travel to Brisbane for treatment," he said.
"We all know that many of the buildings at the Gympie Hospital are well past their functional life.
"They have become so run down due to age that the deteriorating conditions are resulting in increased maintenance costs."
Mr Perrett said that future planning should account for the projected population growth in the Gympie region of an additional 15,911 people by the year 2036.
"When the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital opens with about 450 beds in late 2016, it will revolutionise healthcare on the Coast and offer a range of new and expanded free public hospital services especially for patients with complex or life-threatening conditions," he said.
"This means smaller hospitals like Gympie will need to adapt to be able to play their part in the system. Any future redevelopment will need to involve upgrading of existing buildings and new buildings to ensure a co-ordinated approach to delivery of services.
"An infrastructure master plan for the Gympie Hospital would provide that roadmap matching the future population growth of our region with the infrastructure needs for our hospital.
"I've mentioned the need for a CT scanner in Parliament and to-date there is no indication from the government that it is considering a CT scanner for Gympie.
"I am unaware of a CT scanner at the morgue at Sunshine Coast but if this is true it is absolutely absurd.
"I am aware that they have committed $1.3 million to replace CT units at Bundaberg and Hervey Bay hospitals.
"We can't even get a commitment for one, let alone replacing them."