Moura will still have access to 24-hour care, board says

The Central Queensland Health and Hospital Service plans to make changes to the way Moura Hospital operates.
The Central Queensland Health and Hospital Service plans to make changes to the way Moura Hospital operates. Contributed

THE Moura community will continue to have access to 24-hour health care under proposed changes, according to the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

The majority of the hospital's other services, including casualty, would be transferred to the Moura Medical Centre.

The health board has indicated it will hold a series of community and staff meetings during the next month to seek feedback on the proposal.

Board chairman Charles Ware said the proposal coincided with the community's increased use of general practice and community health services at the Moura Medical Centre, and a corresponding drop in hospital admissions.

"The board has carefully considered all options, however since the medical centre opened in 2009 the use of inpatient services at the hospital has declined to a point that is no longer viable," Mr Ware said.

"It is costing the community more than $8000 a day to keep a hospital open that often has just one inpatient a day and almost 20 staff in attendance."

Moura Hospital, built in the 1970s, has 10 beds with an average bed occupancy of 28% during the past 15 months.

"Serious medical cases are already transferred 67km to Biloela or 170km to Rockhampton and this will not change," Mr Ware said.

"We recognise and regret the impact of this proposal on our staff and the feeling of the community, and are working to reduce these impacts, and work with them, as much as possible."

The Moura community has been strongly opposed to changes, and held a well attended community meeting on Thursday.

At the meeting was Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller, who expressed fears Moura Hospital would be just the first of many regional health services closed by the State Government.

"All the local hospitals in Central Queensland are very concerned they are next in line for the chop," she said.

"I've been told Blackwater is certainly under their microscope." 

Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller.
Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller. File

Mrs Miller said Mr Seeney's claims the hospital only had an average of one patient a night was a "furphy".

"The hospital does a lot more than simply admit people for overnight stays," she said.

Mrs Miller said Thursday's meeting had been about the community sending a message to the government that they had had enough.

"No-one expected this time last year to have a situation where the people would be having to have community meetings to save a hospital. I mean it's unheard of in this state," she said.

Under the board's proposal, staffing at the hospital would be reduced from the present 19 full-time equivalent positions (filled by 36 people as many work part-time) to nine full-time equivalent positions at the Moura Primary Care Centre.

The Moura Primary Care Centre would continue to employ two doctors and four full-time equivalent nurse positions. Three other administrative and operational positions would also be maintained.

Topics:  central queensland health and hospital service charles ware jo-ann miller moura hospital

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