MATER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST NEW HOS­PI­TAL PRO­POSAL

Mater op­poses new hos­pi­tal

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - DOMANII CAMERON domanii.cameron@news.com.au

THE pro­posed West­state Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal has come un­der fire af­ter Mater Health Ser­vices North Queens­land claimed it would com­pro­mise its on­go­ing mas­ter­plan.

The Mater’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ger­ard Wyvill spoke against the $ 55 mil­lion fa­cil­ity at yes­ter­day’s Townsville City Coun­cil monthly Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee meet­ing.

The Geon Prop­erty devel­op­ment would see the her­itage- listed former school at West End de­vel­oped into a pri­vate health fa­cil­ity.

Mr Wyvill ar­gued there was not the de­mand for the ser­vices the new hos­pi­tal would of­fer.

“All we’re do­ing here is we’re go­ing to split the mar­ket,” he said.

“All that they’re go­ing to be do­ing is trans­fer­ring work out of the mar­ket to an­other pri­vate fa­cil­ity.

“In re­al­ity it’s not go­ing to be much more than a day surgery fa­cil­ity.

“It’s go­ing to have a ma­jor eco­nomic im­pact on the de­liv­ery of acute ter­tiary- level pri­vate hos­pi­tal ser­vices in this com­mu­nity.”

Geon Prop­erty man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ben Grif­fin said the new fa­cil­ity would ben­e­fit both hos­pi­tals.

“More com­pe­ti­tion tends to breed a big­ger pie for all,” he said.

“Cer­tainly we would like to col­lab­o­rate with the Mater in at­tract­ing more health- re­lated busi­ness to Townsville.”

Dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod, the coun­cil re­ceived five sub­mis­sions with three ob­ject­ing to the pro­posal, in­clud­ing the Mater.

The Mater’s mas­ter­plan for its Pim­lico site was sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil last year and de­tailed three decades of ex­pan­sion projects in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of an emer­gency depart­ment.

The project cleared a ma­jor hur­dle in May af­ter Queens­land Health ap­proved the fa­cil­ity.

Mr Grif­fin said the West­state hos­pi­tal would fo­cus pre­dom­i­nantly on car­di­ol­ogy and or­tho­pe­dic ser­vices, with 22 beds and 22 doc­tors.

He said it was hoped con­struc­tion could start by Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber this year, with the de­sign in ad­vanced stages.

“The hos­pi­tal is ba­si­cally a spe­cial­ist or­tho­pe­dic, car­di­ol­ogy hos­pi­tal – ( a) fairly nar­row field,” he said.

“There are very few other spe­cial­ties. When it’s com­plete West Pri­vate will be re­spon­si­ble for 2.1 per cent of to­tal re­gional sup­ply.”

Mr Wyvill said there was no de­mand for the two spe­cial­ties the new hos­pi­tal in­tended to fo­cus on.

“You’ve got to look at where is this short­age of de­mand?” he said.

“It’s not in acute ter­tiary pri­vate hos­pi­tal beds. It’s in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and men­tal health.”

The coun­cil’s de­ci­sion on the devel­op­ment has been re­ferred to its meet­ing on Au­gust 22.

If ap­proved, Mr Grif­fin said it was hoped that con­struc­tion would be com­pleted by the end of 2018.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s im­pres­sion of the pro­posed West­state Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal, which has been op­posed by the Mater.

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