Friendly Society may take over St Stephen's Hospital

A NEW possibility has emerged for the future of Maryborough's St Stephen's Hospital.

The Maryborough and Hervey Bay Friendly Society Chemists board is considering taking over the facility and maintaining it in its current state.

Board chairman Theo Jamieson said the group was interested in preserving the hospital for the people of Maryborough.

"It's up to UnitingCare, they own the hospital; it's their decision," he said.

St Stephen's Maryborough general manager Leanne Tones said UnitingCare acknowledged the Friendly Society Chemists' expression of interest but no formal proposal had been received.

But Ms Tones said the hospital was actively pursuing a public-private partnership arrangement with Queensland Health to develop a palliative care unit and a transitional care unit

"We believe that this arrangement would be a centre of excellence for the Fraser Coast region," she said.

"The model would be sustainable in the long term and would meet a need that has been identified by both the community and health care service providers.

"The proposed care centre will be a health hub for patients who have needs that can best be accommodated in such a specialised setting."

Ms Tones said services to be provided would include specialist palliative care physicians and nurses; a consultant gerontologist, allied health team and an information centre.

St Stephen's timeline

  • May 2013: Announcement St Stephen's Maryborough would close when the new Hervey Bay St Stephen's Hospital opens late 2014.
  • December 2013: UnitingCare announced talks with Queensland Health about a partnership to use the Maryborough facility as a palliative and transitional care service.