Surplus means extra specialists for Gladstone

CENTRAL Queensland Hospital and Health Service's 2013-14 Annual Report shows a cash surplus of $8.1m, which will be used to invest in even better public health services for the community.

Board chair Charles Ware said the report, which was released on Friday, was another success story for central Queensland, and more than $3m of that surplus would be spent at Gladstone Hospital.

"We have successfully saved to invest, and now we will invest to save," he said.

The surplus will be used to increase access to health services, and reduce waiting times for patients.

Gladstone's additional funding includes:

  • $1.65m for extra specialists (all currently under recruitment)
  • $1.2m for extra staff in the upgraded High Dependency Unit
  • $100,000 towards an Emergency Department concept plan (total cost $500,000)
  • $200,000 for additional planning

Mr Ware said $3m would be used to establish an ophthalmology (specialist eye) service in Rockhampton, including $500,000 in equipment.

"We have not had a public ophthalmology service in central Queensland since 2007 due to a shortage of specialists, and that is why we started a three-phase project early this year," he said.

"The first phase treated 200 of the most urgent patients using private ophthalmologists with outpatient sessions held in Rockhampton Hospital and surgery at the Mater."

Mr Ware said the second phase was a significant expansion, with a contract signed for 645 outpatients and 632 surgical operations.

"The third phase will be more good news, when we establish an in-house service, including a contracted ophthalmologist who devotes most of their time to the public service and a trainee registrar to build the service for the future," he said.

Initiatives also include funding extra staff for Gladstone Hospital's upgraded High Dependency Unit, which is under construction thanks to $1.45m from Santos GLNG.

The operating theatre upgrade has been funded through $1.5m from QGC.

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