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Mater to build 130 public beds in latest ramping remedy

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has promised more hospital beds for Springfield and will tomorrow make another health announcement outside the south-east.

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The government has been under pressure to create more beds in response to the ambulance ‘ramping’ crisis, as more Queenslanders seek emergency treatment but face a wait to be admitted. It has also been criticised by the Liberal National Party for making Hospital and Health Service managers find more savings even though they could use more money.

Ahead of a Cabinet meeting at Springfield today, Palaszczuk, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Treasurer Cameron Dick joined local health officials and developers to commit to more public hospital beds in the fast-growing region.

Mater Private Hospital Springfield was built with the intention of having a significant public component – many of its existing services are publicly funded – and will now get a new building with another 132 public beds. That will make for 174 public beds in total, including maternity services, and finally give Springfield its own emergency department.

“These beds will be delivered in the next three and a half years,” Palaszczuk said.

That project will be completed around the time of the next election, which the Premier suggested was fast for a new hospital. It comes after petitions and lobbying to get it done sooner.

The new building will cost the Mater around $320 million, and include free space to potentially add another 105 beds in future. The government will fund the services.

Commending the government’s long-standing Mater partnership, D’Ath said the ageing population, chronic illness, and decline in private health insurance was adding to the burden on public hospital services.

“We know that our health sector is under pressure,” she said.

The Springfield site has council approval for facilities to support hundreds more beds.

Before the ramping crisis, Labor made an election promise of satellite hospitals at Redlands, Brisbane Southside (near QEII Hospital), Pine Rivers, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Caboolture and Bribie Island.

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