The government has announced a range of new funding initiatives to improve the state’s healthcare, with total health spending increasing by 6 per cent in this year’s budget to $13.6 billion in the next twelve months.
However, one of the most promising developments has been in the funding of new hospitals, with two new healthcare facilities receiving a large portion of government funding, while a few smaller regional hospitals will also see upgrades.
By far the largest expense to come out of the budget for medical infrastructure is the $369.8 million put towards the construction of the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital. This investment will mean that more medical procedures can occur on the Sunshine Coast without patients having to travel south to Brisbane in order to receive vital care.
This hospital is expected to be completed in 2021, although partial operations will begin in 2016, with 450 beds available to treat locals. Once completed, the number of beds on offer will rise to 738.
Another of the larger recipients has been the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane, which is currently under construction. The project has received $224.5 million in funding this year, going towards the total cost of $1.5 billion.
When this project opens, it will be the country’s largest children’s hospital in Australia.
Other major projects funded through the budget include the redevelopment of facilities in smaller centres like Mt Isa, Cairns and Townsville. With these areas facing considerable challenges travelling south to Brisbane, these developments will bring greater services to communities in the north of Queensland.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg identified that new services offered through these hospital infrastructure projects are providing new opportunities across a variety of industries.
“New and expanded services will include orthopaedics, radiation oncology, mental health services, urology, respiratory medicine, dialysis, endoscopy and allied health services,” said Mr Springborg.
While these projects will bring some big changes to healthcare in the state, there will also be some important benefits for other professions. With the construction phase of these projects ongoing, there are plenty of opportunities for apprenticeships in areas like plumbing, electrical and building work.
Once completed, there will also be demand for related industries, like hospitality, which can benefit from new hospital infrastructure across the state.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator