FUNDING PROMISE: Rockhampton Hospital could benefit from a $31 million upgrade to its Cardiac and Mental Health infrastructure if Labor won the 2020 Queensland Election.
FUNDING PROMISE: Rockhampton Hospital could benefit from a $31 million upgrade to its Cardiac and Mental Health infrastructure if Labor won the 2020 Queensland Election.

$31m Rocky Hospital pledge means fewer flights to Brisbane

A $31 million election pledge by the Labor Party to upgrade the Rockhampton’s Hospital could remove the need for an estimated 1500 Central Queenslanders to fly to Brisbane annually for medical treatment.

Addressing the hospital’s gathered medical professionals on Thursday afternoon, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles, and Labor’s candidates for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke and Keppel Brittany Lauga, committed $18.2 million towards delivering a new cardiac hybrid theatre and $12.8 million for an expansion and refurbishment of the mental health ward, if elected – supporting 90 local construction jobs.

Following Bill Shorten’s failed bid to win the 2019 Federal Election when he promised to boost Rockhampton hospital’s cardiac and mental health infrastructure, Mr Miles said they were stepping up with this election promise to address the hospital’s key priorities.

ELECTION PLEDGE: Labor's Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles was joined by Labor's candidates for Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke and Keppel, Brittany Lauga to make an election promise of $31 towards the upgrade and expansion of Rockhampton Hospital.
ELECTION PLEDGE: Labor's Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles was joined by Labor's candidates for Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke and Keppel, Brittany Lauga to make an election promise of $31 towards the upgrade and expansion of Rockhampton Hospital.

“The Rockhampton region is experiencing population growth and we’re seeing the impact that is having on demand for health services in the region,” Mr Miles said.

“A new state-of-the-art cardiac hybrid theatre at Rockhampton Hospital will give locals better access to health services, closer to home.

“A hybrid theatre combines a surgical operating theatre with advanced medical imaging devices to improve patient outcomes and survival.

“The $18.2 million cardiac hybrid theatre will provide access to Level 5 cardiac diagnostic, implantation and interventional services for Central Queenslanders.”

Ms Lauga said a cardiac hybrid theatre for Rockhampton Hospital would significantly decrease patient transfers outside of their local community and improve their quality of life outcomes.

Labor's Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles with Labor's candidates for Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke and Keppel, Brittany Lauga.
Labor's Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles with Labor's candidates for Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke and Keppel, Brittany Lauga.

“The new cardiac hybrid theatre will establish diagnostic and interventional cardiac services at the hospital to support a wide range of cardiovascular procedures for Central Queensland.

“The project will also expand the Cardiac Investigations Unit by five spaces.

“Only a Labor Government will continue to invest in the frontline health staff and health infrastructure needed to ensure all Queenslanders have access to world-class health care.

“Our $31 million investment to expand the Rockhampton Hospital is also an important part of Labor’s Economic Recovery Plan, supporting 90 local construction jobs.”

Mr O’Rourke said the $12.8 million expansion and refurbishment of Rockhampton Hospital’s mental health ward would improve access to mental health care.

“This investment will deliver an additional six beds to meet growing demand for services and will also refurbish the existing space,” he said.

Incumbent Labor candidate Barry O'Rourke looked forward to seeing the improvements to the Rockhampton Hospital.
Incumbent Labor candidate Barry O'Rourke looked forward to seeing the improvements to the Rockhampton Hospital.

“The project will facilitate the provision of a recovery-focused service and a contemporary, evidence-based mental health model of care.

“It will deliver a therapeutic environment which will enhance client and staff safety and improve consumer access, engagement and satisfaction with the service.”

Mr Miles said since going into government in 2015, his government had hired 114 more doctors, 265 more nurses and midwives, 37 more health professionals and 29 more paramedics in Central Queensland.

“We have rebuilt the health services and frontline staff after the LNP cut them,” he said.

Rockhampton Hospital.
Rockhampton Hospital.

“When the LNP were last in government and Deb Frecklington was Assistant Treasurer, they sacked 197 staff from Central Queensland hospitals, including 41 nurses.

“Queenslanders can’t risk a Frecklington LNP Government which would only be able to achieve its goal of a surplus in four years by cuts.

“Only the Palaszczuk Government will continue to deliver world-class health care in Central Queensland.”

LNP candidate for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins sought to pour cold water on the announcement.

“Here we go again, Labor promising the world at election time, but never delivering.

Rockhampton voters can’t trust Labor to deliver its promises,” Mr Hopkins said.

LNP candidate for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins criticised Labor’s record on health.
LNP candidate for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins criticised Labor’s record on health.

“Labor promised Rockhampton an ICE rehab centre three years ago – and it still hasn’t even broken ground on the site.”

He said Labor should be judged on their shameful health record after five years in power.

“The waiting list for surgery has blown out by 52 per cent in Rockhampton under the Labor Government,” he said.

“We have over 1680 local people stuck on Labor’s waiting list for surgery, many are in chronic pain.

“The LNP will also invest an extra $10.7 million to clear the surgery waiting list in Rockhampton.”

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said after years of neglect, it was great to see the Labor Party was finally spending money in Rockhampton beyond pledging money for one stage of a football stadium.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said more needed to be done to reduce wait times.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said more needed to be done to reduce wait times.

“The announcements made today will be a great addition to the Rockhampton Base Hospital carpark, where I dragged the Queensland Government kicking and screaming to co-fund alongside the Federal Government back in 2017,” Ms Landry said.

“While surgery wait times in Rockhampton have blown out by 52 per cent under the Palaszczuk Labor Government, Steven Miles was too busy renaming hospitals in Brisbane.

“I back the State LNP’s plan to recruit an extra 2530 more nurses and midwives across Queensland, as well as 750 more doctors and 840 more allied health professionals.

“Only Deb and the LNP team will fix Rockhampton hospitals and give people the world-class health services they deserve.”

Rockhampton region Mayor Margaret Strelow warmly welcomed the announcement of a planned expansion for Rockhampton Base Hospital.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the hospital’s expansion would provide a long term benefit for the region.
Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the hospital’s expansion would provide a long term benefit for the region.

“The continued improvement and expansion of the services available at the Rockhampton Base Hospital reinforces our role as a provider of high quality health services for the broader region,” Cr Strelow said.

“We know that health services are a growth area and this expansion will provide long-term jobs, as well as a welcome boost to our construction sector.”



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