Labor's Ipswich Hospital upgrade is unfunded, unplanned: LNP
A MULTI-MILLION promise of a major upgrade at Ipswich Hospital has been announced by the Labor Party as it attempts to fend off attacks in marginal seats from key rivals.
Health Minister Cameron Dick yesterday announced plans for a $124 million upgrade at Ipswich Hospital, to be delivered if the Palaszczuk Government is re-elected.
The proposed Ipswich Hospital upgrade includes a new mental health facility for adults and seniors and the purchase of an Ipswich City Council building to provide for future expansion.
Works would begin on the redevelopment project in the 2018-2019 financial year with the main construction period kicking off in the years following.
The announcement was one of three major hospital expansion commitments in the fast growing areas of Ipswich, Caboolture and Logan with funding commitments totalling $679 million. All three are areas where Labor is at risk of losing votes to Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party or the LNP.
In June Health Minister Cameron Dick hinted at a planned major expansion at Ipswich Hospital.
The latest budget papers included $9 million set aside for work on a business case at the three hospitals; Ipswich, Caboolture and Logan.
Despite the forward planning, the LNP Opposition has taken aim at Labor's election campaign announcements, saying the promises are unfunded, unplanned and won't be delivered for five years.
"And where is the money coming from? It will be more spending on the taxpayer credit card with no proper planning," Shadow Health Minister John Paul Langbroek said.
"It's nothing more than a transparent attempt to secure votes in marginal seats. It has nothing to do with meeting the future needs of Queensland's hospital system.
"(The) announcements prove even more why we need an independent hospitals planning commission to take the politics out of hospitals planning."
In the past year and a half there have been some major changes at Ipswich Hospital.
The Emergency Department has undergone a makeover with more staff added to department, along with the re-opening of a dedicated children's space after it was controversially closed by the former hospital Chief Executive.
The State Government increased the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service budget by $5 million to allow for the changes in the Emergency Department.
A new mental health telephone service has also been introduced to the hospital, bringing it line with other nearby health service areas, and a new fleet of vehicles has been introduced to ease pressure on the growing demand for ambulances.