Qld govt to jointly fund new hospital

·2-min read

The Queensland government will jointly fund a new public hospital in the state's southeast as an emergency department capacity crisis continues.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the new hospital will be built in partnership with private firm Mater Health in Springfield, a former satellite city of Ispwich.

The facility will have 174 beds, with the state government to allocate $177 million towards it in next month's budget, and will be operational by the second half of 2024.

"We know that this is a fast-growing community - we need extra beds," she told reporters.

"So today I'm pleased to announce that as our first significant budget announcement, we will be investing in building 174 new beds in the public hospital here at Springfield.

"This will include of course, our emergency beds ... but of course maternity services are also needed out in this area, a lot of young families are moving here and you can't blame them. It is a beautiful place to live, work and raise your family."

The total cost about $300-320 million with Mater Health still in commercial negotiations about funding the remainder.

Ms Palaszczuk said the new beds will mean a total of 800 beds will come online in the next four to five years.

That's less than half of the 1500 beds needed right now, according to the Australian Medical Association Queensland.

Surging demand for beds in recent months has caused a spike in ambulance ramping - when patients are treated in ambulances on hospital driveways until beds become available.

More than 1.39 million people presented at hospital emergency departments between July 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, an 11.6 per cent increase over the previous period.

The Queensland government has already redirected $100 million in funding from the health budget to increase capacity in the state's struggling public hospitals.

The premier said she will announce more budget funding for beds at Nambour Hospital on the Sunshine Coast, and in rural and regional areas, in coming days.

When asked if she could guarantee that no money would be withdrawn from parts of the health system to fund the new beds, Ms Palaszczuk sidestepped the question.

"I can absolutely guarantee that we will have a record health budget with a big focus on health infrastructure and delivering the services that families need across our state," the premier said.

The state budget is set to be delivered on June 15.