Thousands sign petition fighting for hospital's future
THE future of Maryborough's St Stephen's Hospital is still up in the air, with acting general manager Terence Seymour saying the hospital was a 50-50 chance of remaining open.
Maryborough resident Peter Olds, who is almost 84, who was once on the board of the Maryborough private hospital, is continuing to work to ensure the future of St Stephen's, circulating a petition which he says has collected thousands of signatures.
Mr Olds said he was very pleased with how the public had responded to the petition, adding that the region had realised the hospital wasn't just an asset for Maryborough, but for Torbanlea, Burrum, Howard, Tiaro, Bauple and Hervey Bay as well.
Mr Olds said the petition would be circulating until the end of July.
Mr Seymour said he was keen to identify and see a viable future for the hospital.
"I'd like to find a viable way of keeping it open," he said.
"It's still 50-50."
Mr Seymour praised the work Mr Olds was doing to fight for the future of the hospital and said the petition would be useful in showing UnitingCare Health and members of state and local government how much the region wanted to keep the hospital going.
Mr Olds said he was completely in favour of the building of the modern St Stephen's complex in Hervey Bay, but the Maryborough hospital had been part of the community for more than 100 years.
He said he had been part of organising fetes and other events over the years to keep the hospital going and that the hospital was very much the property of the Fraser Coast.
"The hospital morally belongs to the citizens of this district," he said.
Mr Olds said he hoped a future could be worked out where there would be co-operation between the two St Stephen's hospitals.