HERVEY Bay's $96 million St Stephen's Hospital will officially open on Monday.

Patients at Maryborough's St Stephen's Hospital, which closes on Monday, have been or are in the process of being transferred to the Hervey Bay site which Uniting Care Health executive director Richard Royle promises will be "one of the country's most advanced healthcare facilities".

St Stephen's Hervey Bay will be the first fully integrated digital hospital to be opened in regional Australia and will include 96 beds, with plans to expand to 180 beds, and five operating theatres.

General manager Deb Boyd said the focus this week would be to safely relocate 50 Maryborough patients.

"Patients will be transported by ambulance and accompanied by medical staff, with a focus on their wellbeing, comfort and privacy," Mrs Boyd said.

"The hospital will slowly increase the number of patient admissions to ensure a smooth progression to full functionality."

A patient transport service from the Maryborough Medical Centre will start tomorrow with a cost of $5 per round trip.

The service will run three times a day, Monday to Friday.

Christensen House is available for accommodation bookings with costs of $40 for a single room and $60 for a double.

Bookings can be made on 4120 1200.

Construction facts

  • 3500 cubic metres of rock was excavated
  • 5500 cubic metres of concrete was poured
  • 350 tonnes of structural steel was used
  • 300km of cables were laid
  • A 110,000 litre rainwater retention system was installed for irrigation of the grounds

Patient benefits

  • The full integration of technologies and services will significantly enhance patient care, increasing clinicians' time at patients' bedsides, increasing patient and family involvement in care strategies and offering improved patient safety.
  • Electronic records will replace the traditional paper bedside medical chart and will provide staff with a comprehensive, up-to-date, readily accessible record of a patient's history, treatment, pathology and test results, clinical observations and other vital information such as allergies and abnormal vital signs.
  • Monitoring systems will automatically send observations of the patient's blood pressure, heart rate and temperature to the electronic medical record.
  • The integration and automation of many duties, including most administrative tasks, will give medical and nursing staff more time for bedside care.
  • The system will improve medication-specific communication between the hospital and GPs, specialists, and other community healthcare providers.
  • The state-of-the-art ward and patient technologies are easier for people to use and offer greater comfort and convenience
  • Patients can admit themselves online through our website
  • A subsidised patient shuttle service from Maryborough to the Hospital via Christensen House (see below) will run three times per day, Monday to Friday, coordinated with surgical times. The cost is $5 for the round trip
  • Christensen House situated nearby the hospital offers short-term accommodation for outpatients who may have to make several visits to the hospital, as well as for families of patients. This was made possible by the generosity of the Christensen family

Surgical services

  • Orthopaedics
  • Urology
  • General surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Vascular surgery
  • Maxillo-facial surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endoscopy

Medical services

  • General medicine  
  • Endocrinology  
  • Respiratory medicine
  • Sleep studies
  • Renal dialysis
  • Oncology
  • Haematology
  • Chemotherapy


  • There are three wards with 32 beds in each. Most rooms are single rooms, but two on each floor are two-bed rooms. Each room has its own ensuite.
  • The ground floor ward, Alston Ward, is the surgical ward, named in honour of Matron Anna Alston who was the nurse in charge at St Stephen's Hospital in Maryborough for 16 years
  • The user-friendly patient entertainment system in each room will enable patients to watch television and videos, Skype family members, electronically order meals, access additional information about their condition and view X-rays and scans right from their beds.


  • The cafe space includes an alfresco dining area, and will be available for staff, visitors, patients and their families
  • The artwork on the wall in the hospital's main entrance represents the Mary River - the black dots represent Maryborough and Hervey Bay, depicting the journey St Stephen's has made. It was created by local Hervey Bay artist Ashleigh Manley
  • The pictures in the patient rooms have been supplied by the Fraser Coast community

Chapel area

  • The chapel is a space for people of all faiths
  • The medicinal garden in the chapel courtyard represents the healing properties from  nature and the influence of the traditions of the Butchulla people in this region
  • The sword commemorates returned service men and women from our region
  • The mural was painted and donated by the students of the Fraser Coast Anglican College

E-Health technology and infrastructure

  • About 1400 devices connect and communicate wirelessly via the hospital network
  • More than 2100 data points
  • About 150 wireless access points
  • 11 communication rooms connected to the main data centre

Other fast facts

  • All network switching equipment will have dual power supplies to ensure continuous service in the event of a power supply failure
  • Two generators will ensure continuity of power to critical technology equipment and mechanical services equipment
  • Patient entertainment system provides internet access, television and radio programs, video conferencing, meal ordering and the ability to review medical records and X-rays at the bedside