Friendly Society Hospital CEO Alan Cooper.
Friendly Society Hospital CEO Alan Cooper. Mike Knott BUN020518FRIENDLIES1

EXCLUSIVE: New hospital emergency department for Bundaberg

BUILD it and they will come.

Answering the call from patients and adding more health facilities to the region, the Friendly Society Private Hospital is going to build an emergency department.

The Friendlies CEO Alan Cooper said the decision to open the new service came from patient feedback.

"We are excited to open this new service as we receive a lot of feedback requesting an emergency service or a way to access The Friendlies directly, without going through Bundaberg Hospital," Mr Cooper said.

"For more than 14 years The Friendlies has operated the After Hours (Medical Service) as a service to the community, however in the past few years we have been hearing increasing requests from our patients to open a more comprehensive service.

"I think it opens up a service that is absent."

Mr Cooper said that, once the department was open, patients requiring an ambulance may be able to be taken to The Friendlies directly, simply by indicating their choice of hospital to Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics.

"This will not only benefit patients who choose to be treated at The Friendlies Emergency Department, but it will also be able to take some of the burden off the increasing demands on the Bundaberg Hospital service," he said.

Mr Cooper said nurses at the ED would be supplied by The Friendlies but the doctors would be provided by an external company.

The facility is set to be a level-4 emergency department, with nine cubicles and equipped for full triage to resuscitation.

Mr Cooper said it will be able to cater for all acute medical conditions and some accidents.

"This will be dealing with high end emergencies, but there is a limit with trauma," he said.

"We wouldn't be looking for high-end road trauma, we would be capable of addressing that, but it wouldn't be our normal process.

"If there is a major accident in the community where there are multiple injuries then we can back up and support it because we have an intensive care unit as well."

Mr Cooper said feedback has been "exceedingly positive".

"We have had an incredible response," he said.

"The Friendlies Emergency Department will be located where the current After Hours and Wide Bay Anaesthesia Specialists rooms are.

"To allow for the refurbishment, Wide Bay Anaesthesia Specialists will be relocated to The Friendlies Medical Suites at the end of May, and the After Hours service has already closed."

The new emergency department is set to open in September and will operate seven days a week from 7am-11pm.

Mr Cooper said the department would be available to all patients, as private health will not be required, but there will be a fee for those who use the private service.

The cost will vary depending on the treatment.

For more information about the Friendlies emergency facility visit thefriendlies.