ICU and other projects in the pipeline for Gladstone
PLANNING for an Intensive Care Unit and luring more specialists to Gladstone are in the sights of CQ Health Hospital and Health Service.
Developing an ICU for Gladstone Hospital is determined by a population trigger, but CQHHS executive director of Gladstone and Banana, Joanne Glover, said they'll be ready when the time arrives.
"There's a complex set of criteria involved in establishing a critical care unit, it's not just a matter of building a structure," Ms Glover said.
"There needs to be sufficient volume of activity to maintain a specialist ICU for clinicians to keep their specialist credentials.
"The current population trigger for an ICU is 100,000, which Gladstone is predicted to reach in the next decade.
"We aim to be ready for that point and have an ICU operational when demand requires."
Despite the possibility of an ICU remaining distant on the horizon, Ms Glover said CQHHS won't wait for the new $42 million emergency department to be built to hire extra staff.
"We've been steadily increasing staff numbers over the past year to have a fully staffed and highly qualified and specialised emergency medicine team, with five full-time staff specialists," she said.
"This has reduced the past reliance on (temporary) doctors and created a stable medical workforce.
"Our emergency team has been accredited by the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine to train the specialists of the future, which means we now have access to bright young specialists.
"These state-of-the-art facilities undoubtedly improve the recruitment and retention prospects of doctors. It is extremely difficult to recruit experienced doctors to regional areas when there are vacancies across the state.
"(But) a new department is an extremely attractive drawcard that will set this hospital apart as a great place to work, as will the training opportunities provided."
Ms Glover also stated CQHHS will aim to "cut back on unnecessary travel" for patients.
"It is our aim to provide as much care as close to home for our patients," she said.
"Our teams use telehealth where possible to enable patients to have their specialist consultations without leaving town.
"Further investment in the Maternity Unit will also take place to cover the extra demand when Mater Hospital shuts its maternity service."