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New medical ward opens at Hervey Bay Hospital

A new medical ward is now open at Hervey Bay Hospital, increasing its medical inpatient capacity and helping to improve waiting times and patient flow out of the emergency department.

The new 12-bed unit, which is located in the former emergency department area, is part of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service’s ongoing commitment to build capacity and plan for the Fraser Coast community’s health needs.

The new ward has also led to the creation of about 10 new permanent full-time equivalent roles, including both clinical and support staff.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the extra medical ward would help WBHHS meet the increasing health needs of a fast-growing community.

“This new ward will provide an additional 12 beds for medical inpatients and will also have the flexibility to provide increased capacity at times of peak demand,” Mr Miles said.

“Fraser Coast has higher-than-average rates of people aged over 65 and people with chronic illnesses, which means there is an ever-growing need for medical inpatient capacity.

“The opening of the new unit will help to ensure more patients will receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said building capacity was a constant challenge and priority for the health service.

“That’s why planning for future infrastructure and resource needs are a key part of WBHHS’s strategic plan, Care Comes First … Through Patients’ Eyes,” Ms Jamieson said.

“With the opening of the new medical ward, combined with the expanded Clinical Decisions Unit that opened last month, WBHHS has significantly increased its capacity to meet the current and future demands of the Fraser Coast community.

“Alongside other important capital builds and upgrades across the region – such as the new Hervey Bay emergency department, Bundaberg Hospital’s new medical ward and multimillion-dollar refurbishments to Maryborough and Gayndah hospitals – this demonstrates our commitment to building capacity across the entire region.”

WBHHS Chief Executive Adrian Pennington said promptly re-purposing the old emergency department space to further expand inpatient services would not only help to improve the efficiency of patient flow out of the new emergency department, but also improve surgical wait times.

“There is a constant need for inpatient beds at Hervey Bay and the existing medical ward is often at capacity,” Mr Pennington said.

“As a result of those capacity issues, patients who should be in medical beds sometimes stay longer than they should in the emergency department or take up beds in other parts of the hospital, such as the surgical ward.

“By adding this new medical ward, we’re increasing capacity and improving patient flow, leading to patients being admitted more quickly and preventing them from taking up surgical beds. That, in turn, means we expect to improve our emergency and surgical waiting times.

“But most importantly it’s ensuring more patients are receiving the best possible care, where and when they need it.”

Last updated: 26 July 2019