CHANGE: Health professionals and community stakeholders have endorsed an independent Gladstone and Banana health services board.
CHANGE: Health professionals and community stakeholders have endorsed an independent Gladstone and Banana health services board. Contributed

Health professionals call for an independent hospital board

GLADSTONE health professionals and community stakeholders have called for Gladstone and Banana Shire hospital health services to be split from the Central Queensland Hospital Health Services into an independent body.

In a meeting on Wednesday night members of the health community discussed the petition for Gladstone Hospital to be upgraded from level 3 to level 4 services, the closure of Gladstone as a Distribution Priority Area and the sale of the Mater Hospital.

About 35 attendees endorsed a statement posed by Gladstone Region councillor Kahn Goodluck declaring "the CQHHS has failed to deliver the necessary improvements to the Gladstone Hospital over many years and the members call for an independent Gladstone-based governance structure for Gladstone and Banana hospital services immediately”.

No representatives from CQHHS attended the meeting.

CQHHS executive director of Gladstone and Banana Sandy Munro yesterday said the decision to form an independent board was for the health minister.

"That is a decision the minister has to make around how health services are provided in Queensland,” Ms Munro said.

"I couldn't provide a further comment on that.

"The hospital and health services that are delivered (are) determined by our board ... they provide us with strategic direction for the hospital and health services across Central Queensland.”

CQHHS CEO Steve Williamson said the hospital had delivered a number of new services in the past five years.

"In the last 12 months we've seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of surgeries performed in this hospital,” Mr Williamson said.

"Fewer people have to travel from Gladstone to Rockhampton or to Brisbane or to elsewhere.

"We've seen more patients, we've seen more scopes, we've seen more staff in this hospital.”

Mr Williamson also spruiked the medical school program announced earlier this year for Rockhampton and Bundaberg in 2022, which would service the Gladstone area.

A Gladstone physician who attended the meeting, who wished to remain anonymous, said although they didn't have a strong opinion about an independent Gladstone Banana board, they believed it would provide a different perspective.

"Having an independent board of people who are actually living here in the community, you may see their priorities may be a little bit different,” they said.

"If you have people that have a personal investment - for example if I buy a house here and I live here - of course I want the health care to be good.

"Everybody is going to be a patient one day including a person who is on a board.”

The endorsement for the new board will be sent to the CQHHS board and State Government officials.