Health boost with specialists to flock to Gladstone

PLEAS for health specialists in our city have been answered, with some arriving at the Gladstone Hospital as soon as next month.

Clinical directors will be appointed to the emergency, general medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics wards.

In three months three fully qualified specialists within each department will also arrive, along with extra junior doctors.

The influx of specialists and directors are the result of a strong recruitment drive.

Gladstone Base Hospital, Park Street, Gladstone.

Photo Christopher Chan / The Observer
Gladstone Hospital will welcome new specialists. Christopher Chan GLA300512HOSP

This means, for the first time the hospital will offer "specialist led" services, instead of using a rural model with visiting or temporary doctors.

Executive director of medical services Dr Tim Smart said the new appointments would bring the hospital's paediatric services to a core regional level.

He said residents could now see a paediatric doctor in Gladstone, instead of travelling to Rockhampton or meeting via video link.

Dr Smart said an ongoing problem with the hospital's paediatric, and other services, was they were run with locum staff.

>> 'Amazing': Influx of doctors for Gladstone in health boost

"It'd be fair to say this will make a substantial difference because every unit will be specialist led," he said.

Dr Smart said the hospital had received more quality applicants for each vacancy than ever before.

"As an example of how far we've come, for one vacant emergency department specialist position we had six suitably qualified applicants. In the past the hospital had trouble attracting even one applicant."

"This is a result of a supportive environment with educational opportunities and networking provided, including initiatives such as a journal club, a research group and resources essential to supporting the doctors."

A deputy director of medical services will be employed too, to oversee the medical services of Gladstone region.

Dr Smart said the turning point for the hospital was a change in its reputation and a stronger connection with the private Mater Hospital.

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher. Mike Richards GLA030316APLNG

Gladstone's state member Glenn Butcher said the influx of specialists would instil new hope about the hospital's commitment to the community.

The latest recruitment drive is ahead of the hospital's $42 million emergency department upgrade.

"Under the previous 'rural generalist' model, the hospital relied on mostly temporary locum staff, with specialist appointments almost impossible to recruit to," Mr Butcher said.

"The hospital now uses a specialist led model of care, and has started to take giant steps forward thanks to the hard work of the local management team."

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter to mid 2017. The new emergency department will be built where the hospital's car park is and it will be connected to the existing base facility.

"We want to continue to make this a great place to live and work so we can attract quality candidates to our hospital to enable it to meet future demand."