Patients transferred as upgrade highlights water issues

INPATIENTS of Biloela Hospital have been temporarily transferred after water problems were identified during an upgrade of the facility.

The hospital's Emergency Department will continue to function as usual.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Len Richards apologised for the inconvenience to patients and their families, but said safety was paramount.

"At the first sign of risk to patients or staff we must move immediately to fix the problem, and that's what we've done," Mr Richards said.

There are currently eight patients in the hospital and arrangements will be made to transfer them to an appropriate facility.

Other services such as Allied Health and Mental Health programs will continue as normal, however the dental clinic will be affected due to water quality and some appointments will be postponed.

These will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Work started at Biloela Hospital in October 2013 on a $7.5 million upgrade under the Department of Health's Rural and Remote Infrastructure Rectification Works Program, and is addressing serious risks and infrastructure issues.

Mr Richards said work on the hospital plumbing system highlighted serious concerns about the existing water lines.

"Aged and deteriorated metal water pipes have been impacted while plumbing works were being completed and this has caused the dislodgement of built-up debris in the internal pipe lines, which have resulted in discoloured water to the hospital," he said.

"The Environmental Health Unit will continue to monitor water quality through the lines, however in the interest of ensuring patient and staff safety, it has been decided to close the inpatient ward and expedite work on the water lines."

The works will be undertaken immediately and patients will be re-admitted to the hospital as soon as the water is deemed safe.

"I assure the people of Biloela and surrounding districts that we are working as quickly as we can to repair this problem, and we want to have the hospital back to normal capacity as soon as possible," Mr Richards said.