Hospital, university ties never healthier
JAMES Cook University and the Townsville Hospital and Health Service have signed a historic memorandum of understanding to strengthen ties and work together to deliver health services to the city. THHS board chair Tony Mooney and JCU vice- chancellor Professor Sandra Harding signed the MOU yesterday in a bid to bolster their homegrown clinical workforce. Creating a health and knowledge precinct was a key pillar of the City Deal, which was formalised between State and Federal governments and Townsville City Council in December last year. Mr Mooney said the MOU was only step one of the project. “We already have a close relationship but now that we’ve signed this document two senior executives will now be given the job of working together and working out how we can achieve things,” he said. “Collaboratively we can improve the opportunity for education, clinicians and professional research going into the future.” Mr Mooney said the MOU would ensure that the two institutions were at the epicentre of medical service and delivery. “For a straight link between this and that campus – it’s not so straightforward,” he said. “The interface is rather haphazard, we want to improve on some research possibilities and … we have some announce- ments going forward. I want to build momentum to make sure we’re on the radar of government at all levels.”
Professor Harding said it was possible for the university to do more to work together.
“Both of us need further development,” she said.
Professor Harding said there were talks of closing the road between the rear of the Townsville Hospital and JCU’s medical buildings, James Cook Drive, to join the campuses.
“The worst possible thing would be if we put our backs against each other,” she said. “This makes sure that we have on a regular basis senior executive focus to make sure we are maximising the opportunity.”
When asked about plans for a private hospital proposed for JCU last year, Professor Harding said the university was still in discussions.
“The idea was and ( remains) that the private facility wouldn’t be competing with the Townsville Hospital,” she said. “We were very mindful of what the hospital’s plans were and how it could be complimentary. We’re still on the journey with that. There is a need for it in our community.”