Plans submitted for new public hospital
A PROPOSAL has been submitted to the State Government for a public hospital to be delivered for Springfield in a public-private partnership.
The QT understands Mater, which operates a private hospital in the rapidly developing area, has submitted a proposal as thousands sign a petition calling for it to be built.
It is understood Mater would pay the capital cost for the construction of the hospital and Queensland Health would pay the ongoing costs for the operation of the facility.
In a similar arrangement at its hospital in South Brisbane, Mater would manage the facility.
A petition started by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce calling for a facility with a 24-hour emergency department, intensive care unit, birth suites and more to service the area has attracted about 3300 signatures so far.
Chamber president Neil Coupland said a public hospital was well overdue in Springfield and Mater was ready to build.
“I think it probably hasn’t happened because population growth wasn’t there but now we’re up in the 40,000 mark it’s getting to the point where it’s time it was built,” he said.
“It would probably take three years (to be constructed). The population in Springfield is probably going to be 50,000 (then).
“It’s not only for Greater Springfield. If a hospital is built, it would serve people at Park Ridge, Greenbank … Redbank Plains, Ripley and even coming back a little bit the other way at Camira and Goodna.
“It’s going to have a catchment area of probably 250,000 people by the time it’s built.”
Mr Coupland said the project, which would cost an estimated $400 million, would be a significant economic boost as the state recovers from the impacts of COVID and it would take pressure off Ipswich Hospital.
He said the land for a hospital is available and the Mater Group Board has plans ready to start construction within several weeks.
Without maternity facilities at Mater in Springfield, more than 1500 local women who have uncomplicated births each year need to go to South Brisbane.
“This type of project doesn’t come around often,” he said.
“It’s a win-win for everyone.
“It would create about 800 jobs during construction and then 1000 jobs on a permanent basis ongoing.
“It’s a once in a decade type of project. How often can you create 2000-odd jobs? There is no real downside.
“Our hospital system is overloaded now with wait times for elective surgery blowing right out. Build another hospital now and you take pressure off the system.”
By 2041, Ipswich’s population is expected to rise from 222,000 to 558,000.
About 70 per cent of that growth is expected to happen along or adjacent to the corridor between Ipswich and Springfield.
Jordan MP Charis Mullen said she welcomed the petition.
“(I) encourage everyone in our community to sign it,” she said.
“I am working closely with both Queensland Health and Mater on how we can improve and grow health services here in Greater Springfield.
“This community support will be so important as I continue to strongly advocate for more health services for our growing community.”
A Mater spokeswoman did not respond directly to questions about a proposal.
“The Greater Springfield area is one of the fastest growing communities in Australia and a greater range of hospital services would be well-received by the community,” she said.
“Mater continues to work in partnership with Queensland Health and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service to support and enhance our healthcare services in the Greater Springfield community.”
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