Leaked documents illustrate how desperate the need is for a new hospital in Bundaberg
Leaked documents illustrate how desperate the need is for a new hospital in Bundaberg

Leaked documents show desperate need for new Bundy hospital

LEAKED planning documents show just how dire the need is for a new hospital in Bundaberg.

A copy of the Scope of Works document - part of the detailed business case - leaked to the NewsMail show how rapidly the Bundaberg community will outgrow the current Bundaberg hospital if a new or redeveloped hospital does not progress.

The documents estimate the current hospital's beds will be overwhelmed solely by emergency activity by the 2027 financial year.

"Bundaberg Hospital is experiencing significant service and infrastructure pressure," the document reads.

"This pressure is driven by a growing population that relative to Queensland is significantly older, more socio-economically disadvantaged with higher rates of complex chronic disease."

The document notes several strategies used in response to this pressure, including service optimisation, leverage of rural facilities and outsourcing to local private providers.

"Despite these strategies, 43 per cent of acute inpatient activity is being delivered outside of WBHHS with the majority at Metro North Hospital and Health Service, which is 350 kilometres away," it continues.

"This outflow of patients results in pressure on MNHHS and represents a significant social, economic and financial burden on the Bundaberg region, the State and for patients and carers."

But the most concerning information comes with the forecast need of an additional 167 beds by the 2032 financial year.

"In the event a new or redeveloped Bundaberg hospital does not progress, it is estimated the Bundaberg Hospital overnight bed base will be consumed by emergency activity by (financial year 2027) with all elective activity having to flow outside WBHHS," the document states.

Land availability was also listed as a challenge the new hospital development would face.

The document explains poor flood resilience means there are only 1.9 hectares of developable land under a Q500 flood scenario (a government designation for land with a 0.2 per cent chance of flooding during a probable maximum flood) and only three hectares of land rated under a Q200 scenario (a 0.5 per cent chance).

"In addition, in order to meet the FY32 infrastructure projections, the existing site will require acquisition of adjacent land owned by Bundaberg Regional Council which may not be supported," the document explains.

And these conditions don't come cheaply, with the preliminary business case, completed in March, identifying the preferred option "estimated to cost over $100 million".

While a detailed overview has not been released, an indicative scope of the project included in the leaked document estimates a need for:

• 348 overnight beds

• 105 same-day beds

• 20-bed mental health unit

• Six-theatre operating suite

• Two cardiac catheter labs

• Three endoscopy rooms

• 13-bed intensive care unit

• 128 medical and 80 surgical inpatient beds

• A 13-bed maternity unit

These figures were just an estimation of the proposed scope of the new hospital site, but they show a desperate need for an updated hospital for a community fast outgrowing the current one.

Health Minister Stephen Miles said last month the chosen site would be announced next year, with the document indicating the Investment Review Committee would hand in its submission in August.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service reply: 

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said the WBHHS would continue to strive for the best health outcomes. 

"Development of the detailed business case for a new hospital on a new site in Bundaberg is under way," she said. 

"The detailed business case will contain not only more detailed projections of health service seeds, but also concept designs and proposed models of care for all services that Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service aims to provide.

"A new hospital will progressively allow access to more specialist services close to home.

"This is not new information - we have shared this vision with our community at various steps along the way, through public information sessions as well as through consumer consultation on specific services.

"We will continue to progress this work and keep our community informed."

KEY FIGURES

There were close to 100 pages of documents leaked to the NewsMail. Here are some of the key figures and dates:

• 43 per cent of acute inpatient activity is being delivered outside the WBHHS

• 167 new beds needed by 2023

• Overnight bed base consumed by emergency activity by 2027 financial year

• 1.9ha of developable land with a 0.2 per cent chance of flooding during probable maximum flood

• 3ha of developable land with a 0.5 per cent chance of flooding during probable maximum flood

• Preferred option to cost over $100 million