Opening date confirmed for city’s new hospital

CQ Health chief executive Steve Williamson

Eilish Massie

Eighteen months after Queensland Health flagged its purchase of the Mater Hospital, an opening date has finally been confirmed.

CQ Health chief executive Steve Williamson said the 20-year-old facility was still undergoing major works but was hopeful it would open by mid next year.

While it was originally anticipated to open this year, Mr Williamson said the operating facilities required major upgrades after it was left gutted.

“When you take on a 20-year-old building, there will be issues,” Mr Williamson said.

“It was absolutely clear there were a number of key areas that needed to be addressed, one of which was the operating theatres, so we’re addressing that and moving forward.

“We will ensure it is open next year but of course we have to ensure the operating theatres are fit for purpose and are appropriate and can be used for a surgical staff and patients that is what we must do.”

Queensland Health began renovations on the Rosella St facility after Mercy Health closed the Mater Hospital in October 2020.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher announced the purchase in April last year, when he claimed it would ensure the community’s health services were retained and improved.

Queensland Health purchased the facility, now known as the Gladstone Hospital West Wing, for $16.9m which included the purchase price and some capital improvement works.

The facility will be operated by Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

Mr Williamson said as soon as it was finished, residents would have access to great new theatres which would be used to do a broad range of surgical services.

He also said the new facility would attract private surgeons and services to the area.

“We see our footprint there being a better, bigger hospital. It’s about community,” Mr Williamson said.

“We will be able to work with some private surgeons and specialists, and have private oncology services.

“But of course from a public hospital perspective, our priority is and has to be delivering health services to the public community.

“(The new facility) gives us more theatre capacity as well, not just from a public perspective but to be able to have further conservations with some private specialists who might be interested in doing more services in this region.”

Parts of the hospital, such as the oncology unit reopened in November last year so patients did not have to travel to Rockhampton or Bundaberg for cancer treatment.

Gladstone Hospital’s Emergency Department also reopened last year, with the old emergency department now being used as an outpatient centre.

“Going forward there is more investment to be delivered to Gladstone, we will have further services being delivered in Gladstone so people don’t have to travel.”