The new St Stephen's hospital being built in Hervey Bay.
The new St Stephen's hospital being built in Hervey Bay.

St Stephen’s Maryborough centre may become palliative care

ST STEPHEN'S Hospital in Maryborough could be saved from closure by a new proposal to turn the facility into a palliative care unit.

The centre was due to shut down next year, after the opening of the new $87.5 million Hervey Bay hospital, due to lack of acute support and specialist services in Maryborough.

But a potential partnership between St Stephen's and the public sector could breathe life back into the site by creating a specialist palliative care centre.

"We have been working on identifying an alternative use for the site for some time," St Stephen's Hospital general manager Leanne Tones said.

"The provision of a palliative/transitional healthcare service for the Fraser Coast will be a huge benefit to this community and we are excited to be part of this project."

Ms Tones said the proposal was in its early stages and there would be a lot of work to secure necessary government approvals.

If it is successful, it will be one of only a handful of dedicated palliative care facilities in Queensland, offering a service the Maryborough community has long lobbied for.

A petition with almost 7000 signatures in support of a palliative care centre was submitted to Maryborough MP Anne Maddern in November last year.

A Queensland Health spokesperson confirmed the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service executive and board had met with St Stephen's officials.

"There have been talks about the possibility of a palliative care colloboration in Maryborough with a view to improving palliative care services in the region."