CONFIRMED: Ipswich Hospital will undergo massive expansion
A MASSIVE expansion of Ipswich Hospital will go ahead with construction starting in 2020.
The $124 m expansion includes a new 50-bed mental health facility, an MRI machine and a new car park.
It's part of a larger expansion plan for the coming years.
Today's announcement is Stage 1A of the expected future works.
Health Minister Steven Miles said the commitment marked the beginning of a new era.
"Today marks the official start of this work and the beginning of a new era in health care for the Ipswich Hospital and the Ipswich community," Dr Miles said.
"This redevelopment will not only increase clinical capacity but will ensure it best meets the needs of the community by including consumers, carers, community and staff in the design process."
The $124 m in funding was promised in November as an election commitment.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the rest of the cabinet are in town for the Governing from the Regions program.
Ms Palaszczuk said the $124.4 m announcement recognised Ipswich's growing needs with the population expected to double over the next 15 years.
"Stage 1A of the Ipswich Hospital redevelopment will include a new mental health unit, an MRI suite to grow clinical capacity, an integrated community health care centre and outpatient facility, and a new car park," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The new 50-bed mental health building will replace an ageing facility and create an additional six beds to provide a purpose-built centre for acute mental health care for adults and seniors.
"The addition of an MRI machine means Ipswich Hospital will no longer need to send patients to other hospitals for MRI examinations.
"That means outpatients will have greater options to receive care closer to home and inpatients will have ready access to imaging that will accelerate clinical pathways and allow patients to go home sooner.
"There will also be a significantly reduced workload for Queensland Ambulance Service which currently transports inpatients who need MRI examinations."
Building Queensland will develop a detailed business case to allow detailed design work and contractor procurement, with construction to start in late 2020.
Ipswich Hospital outgrowing its facilities
NEW hospital buildings will be needed to cope with Ipswich's rapidly expanding population.
In June, then health minister Cameron Dick acknowledged the hospital's issues with low bed numbers saying improving that area was a priority for the State Government.
At the time, $3 million was awarded to the health service to explore expansion options which will likely include acquiring a building from Ipswich City Council.
At 1.64 beds per 1000 people, compared with the state average of 2.1 per 1000 people, Ipswich Hospital already experiences significant bed shortages.
Then health minister Dick said the service would also examine whether existing buildings within the hospital precinct could be re-purposed.
"We have to find a way to expand this facility in the short to medium term," Mr Dick said in June.
"There's a significant possibility an existing space could be used more effectively and that's something we'll be looking at closely."
He said the other option would be to construct a building at a new site.