Emergency ward turns staff away
By EVAN SCHWARTEN
ROCKHAMPTON Hospital's Accident and Emergency department is "not up to scratch'' and desperately needs a multi-million dollar redevel- opment.
But Central Queenslanders may not have to wait much longer with the upgrade a likely inclu- sion in Premier Peter Beattie's mini-budget due to be handed down next Tuesday.
Health Minister Stephen Robert- son said yesterday that the ward, which cares for about 38,000 patients a year, needed work.
"There is certainly a legitimate case (for a redevelopment). I under- stand the problem and I'm sympa- thetic,'' he said.
Mr Robertson said the ward was due to be included in a $28 million upgrade of the hospital completed in 2003 but was left out after the project was scaled back by the Borbidge government.
He said conditions at the facility had created problems for hospital administrators who were trying to attract specialists to work at the fa- cility.
"It's an old-style emergency de- partment, it's cramped and it's not a nice place to work.''
"There is definitely a staffing problem in Rockhampton. We have the money to pay them but we just can't attract people.''
Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten agreed, saying special- ists interested in coming to Rock- hampton changed their mind after seeing the facility.
"We've got to make sure the con- ditions these specialists work in are ideal.''
But he said an upgrade of the hos- pital would be a costly one.
"It's obviously going to be a very expensive solution but the demand placed on that section by our grow- ing population demands it.