HEALTH CHECK: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles talking with staff specialist doctor David Johnson at the new Hervey Bay Hospital ED building yesterday.
HEALTH CHECK: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles talking with staff specialist doctor David Johnson at the new Hervey Bay Hospital ED building yesterday.

Ready for flu season: New Bay ED officially opened

QUEENSLAND'S premier says she's confident Hervey Bay Hospital's new emergency department can cope with the region's growing population and recent onslaught of flu patients.

Officially opening the $44 million State Government-funded project yesterday with Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles, Annastacia Palaszczuk said the hospital had more than doubled the bed capacity available to treat the Fraser Coast community.

The new health facility includes the ground-floor ED and first-floor Clinical Decisions Unit, as well as state-of-the-art education and training facilities.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was a huge investment in healthcare for the growing Fraser Coast community.

"We promised to build a new emergency department in Hervey Bay to cater for the region's growth, now that building is open and treating patients," she said.

"The new education facilities include a 150-seat auditorium and conference room, three training rooms, two high-fidelity simulation training suites and a resource room.

"This new department is helping our hard-working clinicians to deliver among the best emergency care in Queensland, particularly now during this extraordinary flu season."

The redevelopment created about 170 construction-related jobs.

However, Hervey Bay MP Ted Soresen was adamant the numbers did not add up.

Mr Sorensen claimed his electoral office was bombarded with serious complaints about issues from local health service providers at least twice a week.

"The staff are working under extreme conditions, don't go blaming the staff for the incompetence of an incompetent minister," Mr Sorensen told the Chronicle.

"We have a population growth of about 2.5 per cent.

"If you think we have enough beds to last until 2030, that it is just garbage."

Staff specialist doctor David Johnson said the new infrastructure meant staff could treat patients in a more timely fashion and to a higher standard than before.

"It's come just in time because this year is the worst flu season since I became a doctor 15 years ago, including the 2009 swine flu pandemic," he said.

"We are seeing about four times as many flu patients as we were this time last year all around the country."

Mr Miles said the Hervey Bay emergency team consistently improved its performance despite a substantial increase in presentations since it opened.

"The hard-working clinicians have treated more people within recommended times than ever before," he said.

"In May alone, the ED team saw a 12 per cent increase in presentations compared to last year."

 

LOOK OUT FOR TOMORROW:

Under pressure: Special report on upgraded ED strain.