MP calls for Gladstone Hospital funding boost

MEMBER for Gladstone Liz Cunningham has called for funding to make Gladstone part of the solution, not part of the problem, when it comes to hospital treatment in central Queensland.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Friday morning, Mrs Cunningham said over the years Gladstone patients had been referred to Rockhampton Hospital more and more.

"People have to go up there for any complex dialysis, they have to go up for breaks, fractures if they're in any way complicated, they have to go up for so much," she said.

"And the feedback some people are getting when they present at Rockhampton is, 'Oh, not another Gladstone person', because Rocky itself doesn't have capacity.

"Rocky hospital is struggling to meet demand.

"I believe that instead of Gladstone Hospital and Gladstone being the problem, we are the solution.

"We can provide the opportunity to provide services in Gladstone and take the pressure off Rockhampton."

With funding being the biggest obstacle to improving services in Gladstone, the MP turned to Royalties for Regions.

She said Royalties for Regions was about recognising the impact on communities from industrial development, and supporting them financially to be able to develop the capacity in those electorates.

"Gladstone has overwhelmingly, or maybe it's underwhelmingly, not received the funding from Royalties for Regions that is should," she said.

"We've got one project, and that's Kin Kora roundabout, which is a state-controlled road anyway.

"If this government is going to talk about selling or leasing assets, which our community doesn't support, if it's going to talk about Royalties for Regions, money for which we as a community contribute extensively, and will do when LNG royalties start, they need to look at rebuilding Gladstone Hospital.

"We've got the land, we've got the situation, we've got the enthusiasm, we've got the staff who want to see it happen," Mrs Cunningham said.

"All we need is a funding injection. Our community, by managing the impacts of LNG, deserves that funding input."

Mrs Cunningham said suggestions made in the past that Gladstone was only an hour away from Rockhampton, and therefore the hospitals were too close to justify major development, were "rubbish".

"We're an hour and 15 minutes away, and when the roadworks are on, three hours away," she said.

"Rockhampton can't cope with the influx of people. They struggle just with the number of Gladstone people that are referred up there, let alone other people that are referred from Biloela and other places.

"Secondly, there's no public transport. We have a bus that's funded for a couple of years, but it's not appropriate for all people who need to access services.

"We have a capacity to alleviate all the problems Rocky is facing, that Gladstone wants to help with."



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