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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier and Minister for Health
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Private hospital fast-track means more beds sooner on Sunshine Coast

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Health
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Private hospital fast-track means more beds sooner on Sunshine Coast

    A private hospital providing more public beds sooner will be delivered first on the Sunshine Coast with work on the region’s new public hospital now due to begin in 2013.

    The State Government today announced it will fast-track negotiations for a private hospital as part of a major re-ordering of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct.

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas said the pragmatic plan would mean more beds and more services sooner for the Sunshine Coast.

    “As part of this project, 70 public beds will open in 2013, growing to 110 by the end of the following year,” Mr Lucas said.

    “The global financial crisis means we need to think outside the square to get private investment moving on these projects.

    “By building the private hospital first and guaranteeing public use of 110 of the beds we provide the patronage guarantee that private investment needs in the current market conditions.”

    The Deputy Premier said the decision meant more public hospital beds on the Sunshine Coast - a year earlier than previously committed.

    “And the total number of new beds on the Sunshine Coast will grow by more than 200 by 2014,” he said.

    “That’s what our bed demand projections tell us we need.”

    Mr Lucas said delivering new services sooner also meant more Sunshine Coast residents will be treated closer to home.

    “For example, patients with blocked arteries will no longer have to travel to Brisbane for cardiac procedures – they will be treated on the Sunshine Coast.”

    “And we will also explore opportunities to purchase radiotherapy services so that women diagnosed with breast cancer will be able to access public treatments on the Sunshine Coast.”

    He said the State Government was committed to working with the private sector to deliver the broadest range of new services to the region.

    “Discussions with the private sector will begin as early as next month,” he said.

    Mr Lucas said these tough economic times would mean rescheduling the construction of the new public hospital.

    “The Government has always expressed its desire to build the hospital as a public-private partnership.

    “We believe this will ensure that taxpayers get the best value for money and Sunshine Coast residents get the best possible hospital.

    “Our market sounding has confirmed that the global financial crisis has made it difficult for the private sector to bid for large social infrastructure projects right now.

    “A two year reordering of the construction delivery will allow time for the market to recover and construction is expected to begin on the public hospital in 2013 and be completed by 2016.”

    Both hospitals will be built on the Sunshine Coast University Hospital campus at Kawana.

    Mr Lucas said the construction of the private hospital will be the first step in a world class health precinct for the Sunshine Coast.

    “When complete the precinct will encompass a co-located private and public hospital as well as an academic and research facility,” he said.

    “This will allow our doctors and nurses to deliver high quality health care to this growing region in two new hospitals and train the next generation of clinicians right here on the Sunshine Coast.”

    The Bligh Government is getting on with the job of delivering better health services to the Sunshine Coast with:

    • More clinical staff – almost 500 since 2005.

    • A Nambour Hospital redevelopment - delivered an extra 30 beds, with a further 96 beds due in 2011.

    • A Caloundra Hospital redevelopment – delivered an extra 30 beds and an expanded imaging department completed by the end of 2009.

    • A $190 million investment in health infrastructure creating 1200 new construction jobs for Sunshine Coast workers.

    • The private hospital opening at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct by the end of 2013 with 70 public beds, growing to 110.

    • Construction beginning on the public hospital at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct in 2013, to be completed by 2016.

    Media inquiries: Robert Hoge 0419 757 868