OPINION: Hospital board speaks out about services
AS CHAIR of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board I would like to provide clarity regarding the call for Gladstone Hospital to be administered by an independent board and to have its own budget.
Let me start by saying Gladstone has a great hospital with committed and dedicated staff, and the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board is committed to its future.
That commitment is reflected in the unprecedented growth in staffing and service delivery.
Board composition, and the structure of Queensland Health, are outside the realm of local boards. They are matters for the Minister for Health.
I can assure the Gladstone community the board I chair is independent and certainly not Rockhampton based or Rockhampton centric.
In fact, it is more appropriate to say it is Gladstone centric.
The current board has nine members: myself and another from Emerald; two from the Capricorn Coast; and two from Rockhampton.
The highest geographic representation on the board is from Gladstone with three members.
The board's responsibility is to deliver the best possible heath services to the whole Central Queensland community.
Deliberations are not based on giving one city or town an advantage, but on how the finite budget we receive is best spent to deliver better health outcomes and patient experiences to all Central Queenslanders.
Economies of scale deliver many advantages and efficiencies.
In my many years in local government, in healthcare and across many other areas, I have always found the best way to deliver progress and improvement is by working together as a united conglomerate and not as divided parts pulling in many different directions.
Growing health service delivery from Gladstone Hospital will play an essential part in meeting the health needs of all Central Queenslanders. It will reduce pressure on other facilities and provide care closer to home.
And health services in Gladstone have grown.
Tenured doctor numbers have almost trebled in the past five years.
In the past 12 months the number of surgeries has increased by 20 per cent. Gladstone delivered 754 emergency operations, including 174 procedures for life-threatening conditions, and 46 requiring immediate surgery. Our surgeons and our facilities saved lives.
More patients were treated in the Emergency Department and staff delivered more outpatient appointments.
The Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board will continue to grow Gladstone Hospital when it is safe and sustainable to do so and when the highly skilled doctors required to deliver those services have enough work to maintain their skills and credentials.
Paul Bell, Chair Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board