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New Blackall Hospital to open on 25 November

Friday 16 October 2020

News_New Blackall Hospital to open on 25 November
News_New Blackall Hospital to open on 25 November

Blackall’s new $20.11 million hospital will begin accepting its first patients from 25 November.

Deputy Premier and Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles said construction of the new hospital would be completed by 20 October and the facility then handed over to the Central West Hospital and Health Service.

“There will then be a period of formal commissioning and associated staff familiarisation before the new hospital starts delivering services from 25 November,’’ he said.

Mr Miles said a public open day would be held at the hospital on 20 November.

“This will allow Blackall and Tambo residents to have a sneak peek of their brand-new hospital before it goes live the following Wednesday,’’ he said.

“A formal opening ceremony also will be held that afternoon following the public open day.’’ Mr Miles said he wanted to commend the Central West Hospital and Health Service and major contractor St Hilliers Pty Ltd for bringing the hospital into service much earlier than expected.

“Originally, the combined hospital and general practice was expected to be fully operational by early 2021,’’ he said.
“But Central West Health and St Hilliers have worked hard and effectively together to make the hospital a reality for the Blackall and Tambo communities at least three months earlier than expected.

“Considering construction of this new health facility only got under way in December 2019, it’s been a phenomenal achievement to complete it and bring it online just a year later – and despite some very heavy rains in the region during the construction.

“Well done to Central West Health and to St Hilliers. I am sure the Blackall and Tambo communities will be very pleased with the early delivery of their new hospital.’’

The new combined general practice and hospital occupies a site adjacent to the existing hospital, which will continue to deliver health services as normal until the move to the new hospital is complete.

Mr Miles said the new 10-bed facility – including two emergency department bays and two short-stay beds – would provide coordinated and integrated healthcare for the community.

“It will include more flexible arrangements for overnight accommodation for carers/families of paediatric, palliative care, mental health and other inpatients requiring additional support,’’ he said.

“In addition, the primary healthcare component of the building will have 8 consultation rooms that will support a range of clinical and GP services.

“Overall, the new hospital will provide capacity to meet expected increases in current and future healthcare demand due to a growing and ageing population and high levels of chronic disease within the catchment population.

“What we are doing with this major project at Blackall is future-proofing health services for the local community.’’

Mr Miles said the new Blackall Hospital, built by main contractor St Hilliers Pty Ltd, supported about 58 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs during its construction period.

“The works also provided opportunities for local business to participate in the construction,’’ he said.

“Several local businesses have supplied civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as trade services to support construction activities.

“There have also been positive economic flow-on effects with local businesses participating indirectly in the provision of support services for the construction workforce.’’

Mr Miles said he knew the replacement of Blackall Hospital was an essential capital infrastructure priority for the Central West Hospital and Health Service.

“Everyone living in and around Blackall and Tambo would agree the current hospital has served the community well since it was built in 1938. But it is now in poor condition and due for replacement,’’ he said.

“This project was under consideration for many years, but it was the Palaszczuk Government that made it a reality.

“Our Government is determined to ensure Queenslanders can access our world-class quality hospital and health system as close to home as possible.’’

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said a feasibility study was progressing to determine the future use of the existing hospital complex once the new hospital had been completed.

“A consortium including Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Division), Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Central Queensland University and Central West Hospital and Health Service secured $750,000 Commonwealth funding last year to undertake this
study,’’ she said.

“Wide-ranging community consultations on various proposals for the use of the old hospital have been completed and several potential options identified.

“These are now being presented to various stakeholder groups and further discussion is under way about selecting a preferred option with which to move ahead.’’

Mr Miles said the new Blackall Hospital formed part of a total package of more than $60 million worth of health infrastructure works in the Central West over the past three years that had either been completed, were currently under way or about to start.
These include:

  • $14.5 million Longreach Hospital upgrade and additional works. Main hospital upgrade completed in November 2018, with some additional minor works completed during 2019.
  • $7.24 million Boulia Primary Health Centre replacement, including a $572,900 contribution from the Commonwealth for a Wellbeing Centre, completed in November 2019.
  • $4.75 million electrical and mechanical upgrade currently under way at Longreach Hospital.
  • $4.2 million Windorah Primary Health Centre replacement. Planning and community consultation currently under way.
  • $3.95 million Aramac Primary Health Care Centre completed in April 2018
  • $3.9 million worth of mechanical and other upgrades at Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service, including the delivery of a new, state-of-the-art dental clinic completed in 2017.
  • $2.36 million corridor and underfloor upgrading program currently under way at Barcaldine MPHS.
  • $1.6 million generator and main switchboard replacement program currently under way at Longreach Hospital.
  • $1.42 million water treatment plant replacement program currently under way at Longreach Hospital and Barcaldine MPHS.

“These works are all part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to maintaining and improving health services in Queensland no matter where they live,” Mr Miles said.

“The new Blackall Hospital and other capital projects already completed or under way in the Central West will ensure local health staff have the most modern facilities possible from which to deliver their vital services to their communities, both now and well into the future.’’

“These construction projects will extend from Torres Strait island communities in the Far North to south-east Queensland’s rapidly growing metropolitan areas.

“These projects are providing major health infrastructure in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote communities across the state.’’

ENDS

For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au

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Last updated: 16 October 2020