$19m boost for hospital
Premier Peter Beattie made a fleeting visit to Rockhampton yesterday to announce the upgrade, which will form part of next Tuesday's mini-budget.
"It was desperately needed,'' he conceded. "We need to get our act together and we are doing that .?.?. this Emergency Department was an area of neglect and it will be funded on Tuesday.''
The upgrade will involve a major redevelopment of the department, including an ex- tension to the eastern side of the building.
An adjacent superseded staff accommodation building will be demolished to make way for the creation of a Canning Street entrance.
Mr Beattie hoped the new fa- cility, flanked by a pay rise for doctors and a string of service announcements expected next week, would help attract doc- tors to the hospital.
The announcement was wel- comed by Accident and Emer- gency staff as Mr Beattie toured the unit.
"We need to have these facil- ities,'' nursing unit manager Jan Randall told Mr Beattie.
Mr Beattie also revealed a personal connection to the hospital which helped con- vince him of the need for the upgrade.
He said he visited the unit as a patient more than 12 years ago after standing on a nail and was surprised on a recent inspection to find things hadn't changed.
Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten welcomed the announcement, saying the unit needed to cater for 38,000 patients a year.
"Every 15 minutes, someone walks through the door here .?.?. it is a very high demand service,'' he said.