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The $116 million Queensland hospital that is set to see a handful of patients

Statewide

After promising new beds in a growth area of the south-east, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today opened a new hospital that delivers the opposite.

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Palaszczuk was in Roma on Tuesday with local dignitaries and health officials to formally open a replacement public hospital to serve Queensland’s south-west.

It came a day after the Premier was in Springfield to commit 132 more public beds through a partnership with the Mater Private Hospital. That will see a new building constructed before the next election, helping to meet population growth west of Brisbane.

Roma, however, is far from a growth corridor.

“It doesn’t matter where you live in Queensland, our priority is to make sure you get good, decent health services,” Palaszczuk said today.

The new Roma hospital comes with a change in health practices in the South West Hospital and Health Service, that will see more patients treated in the community or at home. In preparation for its opening, Queensland Health reduced overnight admissions in Roma, expecting the new hospital to come with fewer beds (from 31 in 2016-17 down to 22).

The changes were based on expectations of a six per cent decrease in the Roma population by 2026, as well as a “significant percentage of potentially preventable hospital admissions which, if addressed as planned, will again result in decreased activity” at the hospital. Complications from diabetes will be a key focus.

However, more serious injuries and illnesses will still require patients to be transferred to larger hospitals, and it remains to be seen whether Roma attracts the clinical staff needed to deliver complex care.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has acknowledged larger hospitals are under pressure from an ageing population, increase in chronic illness, and surge in emergency presentations, which has seen more ambulances ‘ramping’ outside as patients await a bed.

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