Premier Anna Bligh chats with Dr Alan Sanford at the new Rockhampton Hospital Emergency Department.
Premier Anna Bligh chats with Dr Alan Sanford at the new Rockhampton Hospital Emergency Department. Allan Reinikka

Emergency department slammed

ROCKHAMPTON'S new Emergency Department (ED) at Rockhampton Hospital has been slammed by orthopedic surgeon and LNP hopeful Kim Bulwinkel as woefully inadequate for the region's future needs.

Premier Anna Bligh and Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten opened the new facility at an official ceremony yesterday morning.

Ms Bligh said it was “a great day for Rockhampton” and the new department would rival any others in Australia.

She also announced that the next phase of the $244 million redevelopment, including a regional cancer centre, would start in the middle of the year.

Dr Bulwinkel, an Australian Medical Association Queensland representative for Capricornia, who is seeking pre-selection for the LNP in Rockhampton, said it was a “very sad” day. He said the new ED department had five fewer beds than the old one.

Ms Bligh said the new ED had 17 “treatment bays” which was nearly “three times the number of bays in the old ED” which had six.

But Dr Bulwinkel said the old ED actually had 22 bays that were operating.

“It's just been opened and it's already too small,” he said. He said it was built to meet the needs of the Rockhampton region in 2006 when it was designed.

It was designed for 40,000 patient presentations a year, but it needed to handle 50-55,000 a year, he said.

Dr Bulwinkel said he had been involved in the project “from its inception”, but his advice was ignored.

He said it was a shame that a new facility was not adequate when it needed to handle the demands of the region for the next 20 to 25 years.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Geoff Wilson said the new ED had triple the floor space of the old one.

She confirmed that Dr Bulwinkel had previously raised his concerns with the department, but stated he was incorrect to say there were fewer beds.

She said the old ED had space for 16 patients, while the new department had two designated pediatric treatment bays, four short-stay observation beds and six observation beds.

The old ED would be refurbished to provide six observation beds and a six-bed acute assessment unit.

Ms Bligh said the redevelopment of the hospital would deliver a new seven-storey block including a regional cancer centre and three new wards with 30 medical beds.

TOUR NEW ED TODAY

Residents get the chance to tour the new Emergency department between 10am and 2pm today.

There will be guided tours of the ED which includes 17 treatment bays



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