Work starts today on maternity ward's $1.25m upgrade
A $1.25 million upgrade will begin today at Gladstone Hospital's maternity unit to create a better quality, more comfortable service.
The upgrade is designed to help the hospital deal with the expected jump in demand following Gladstone Mater's closure of its maternity services in October.
In June Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland announced its decision to close the maternity ward because of a decline in births.
Gladstone Hospital executive director Sandy Munro said the upgrade to the maternity ward would be done in stages to keep the impact to a minimum.
The first stage of the upgrade includes enlarging the ensuite in the first birth suite and adding a shower with disability modifications.
This work is expected to be finished by late this month.
The birth suite undergoing the first stage of upgrades contains the birth pool, which means water births will be unavailable during this time.
"We have asked the contractors to keep the noise to a minimum, but we thank our patients, visitors and staff for their patience during construction," Ms Munro said.
$440,000 of the funding will go towards transforming the hospital's nursery into a 24-hour facility, meaning parents whose newborns need overnight care will no longer have to stay overnight elsewhere.
The other two birth suites will also include ensuites and single rooms will be refurbished as part of later stages of the upgrade.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said once completed, the hospital would be able to offer an even better experience for expectant mums and dads.
The Queensland Government funding will also help the hospital hire more midwives.
"I'm really glad to see construction about to start on this new maternity unit because it means that expecting parents will get access to quality and comfortable surroundings," Mr Butcher said.
"It also means that mums can give birth in Gladstone safely with world-class care."
There are now about 600 births a year at Gladstone Hospital.
That is expected to grow to between 650 and 700 following the private hospital's maternity ward closure.