St Stephen's director denies anti-competition rumours

ST STEPHEN'S acting executive director Terence Seymour has denied rumours St Stephen's Maryborough is closing to avoid competition.

The Chronicle has received phone calls from readers concerned about the site's future.

While the fight to keep Maryborough's St Stephen's Hospital open is over, Uniting Care Health says it is in discussions with possible new owners, including the Friendlies Pharmacy Group.

Uniting Care confirmed the hospital would close its doors next month when the new $87.5 million Hervey Bay St Stephen's hospital opens.

"We are in fact still in conversation with an organisation, looking to see whether they can run a private hospital on that site from that facility," Mr Seymour said.

He said potential new owners would need to comply with Queensland Health requirements and private hospital guidelines.

Mr Seymour also addressed public concerns about where funds from the sale of the hospital would go.

He said the money could go into paying down Uniting Care Health debt or could be used for clinical services at the new St Stephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay.

"Funds don't belong to Uniting Care Health, it's a service agency ... the money will go back to the (Uniting) church," Mr Seymour said.

In Thursday's Chronicle, Uniting Care Health executive director Richard Royle said the hospital was closing due to it becoming increasingly financially non-viable due to many complex issues.

The Save St Stephen's petition was presented to the Uniting Care board last month with more than 12,000 signatures.

Petitioner Nan Ott said the announcement was a sad day for the community and she hoped Uniting Care would be reasonable with its sale price.

St Stephen's

  • A hospital was established on the site in 1905
  • It was originally known as St Mary's Hospital
  • Acquired by the St Stephen's Presbyterian Church in 1946
  • Uniting Care Health began in June 2000 to bring together various hospitals owned and operated by the Uniting Church