Sunshine Coast hospital delay confirmed

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas this week refused to recommit to the building of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital by 2014.

In Question Time in Parliament LNP Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie asked Mr Lucas to recommit to the original time frame of 2014, and “admit that the reckless delay in building the Sunshine Coast University Hospital has cost lives”.

The delivery of the $1.97 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana is expected to relieve the overstretched Nambour Hospital, where an emergency patient died waiting on a trolley earlier this month.

But Mr Lucas said he was delivering a services boost to the area prior to the building of the hospital, currently forecast for 2016, which would “fast-forward the region’s health services by five to 10 years”.

“When the original plan for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for 2014 was not able to proceed, we committed to a procedure whereby they would get beds delivered in the private sector sooner. So, instead of 2014, beds would come online in 2013 — sooner,” he said.

Last month Mr Lucas announced a cardiac catheterisation laboratory, a vascular surgery procedural suite, an outpatient neurosurgery service, and a dedicated endoscopy procedural unit at Nambour.

“Additionally, we are building 96 beds at Nambour Hospital. They are slightly ahead of schedule and anyone can see them there,” he said.

Mr Lucas criticised the Opposition’s position on the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

He said an article in the Sunshine Coast Daily said “LNP leader John Paul Langbroek has expressed support for the hospital, but has refused to make a policy commitment before getting a complete understanding of the state of government finances”.

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