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January 8th, 2013


In 18 months time, the eight-bed St Stephen’s day surgery at Pialba will be transformed into a gleaming new medical facility with five operating theatres and 96 beds.

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Mayor Gerard O’Connell described Monday’s sod-turning as a “red letter day” for the region, and said the $87.5 million, Australian-first digital hospital would be the biggest development ever built on the Fraser Coast.

“This signals the start of an 18-month construction period that will create jobs for 300 people and, by the end of it, we will have a new hospital that will create another two or three hundred jobs,” he said.

Senator John Hogg, artist Jackson Martin, UnitingCare Health executive director Richard Royle and doctor Paul Neeskens at St Stevens new private hospital image

“A lot of the services that this hospital will provide are services that people currently have to go to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane for.

“It is of real economic and community benefit.”

St Stephen’s general manager Leanne Tones said work would start in earnest on January 24, subject to receiving final approval from the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

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“It’s exciting that we’re finally taking the next steps,” she said.

“It’s the first hospital of its kind in Australia and it’s great to get going.”

The new e-health facility is “the way of the future” and will benefit patients, the Fraser Coast community and medical health sectors, Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek said.

The first sods of the new St Stephen’s hospital were turned by UnitingCare Health executive director Richard Royle and Queensland Senator John Hogg.

The shovel used was a unique tool, hand-painted by artist Jackson Martin, who created a modern twist on indigenous art by painting turtles in a 3D style.

Once the building is complete, the painted shovel will take pride of place as an art instalment.

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As well as being the country’s first hospital to use a state-of-the-art digital system for medical records and equipment, the new facility will have five operating theatres, six renal dialysis treatment bays, six oncology treatment bays, and will also provide acute care.

The hospital, at the corner of Urraween Rd and Nissen St, will also offer training for nursing students and allied health placements.

The e-health system will include portals for patients, the community and medical staff, and will link to other parts of the health system including Hervey Bay’s public hospital, medical practitioners, universities and diagnostic providers for radiology and pathology.

The system will also allow easier access to up-to-date records, provide alerts for allergies and abnormal results, and create electronic orders to diagnostic providers.

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The Federal Government has committed $47.1 million to construction of the new hospital, under the Health and Hospital Fund Regional Priority Round.

Keys to the St Stephen’s Regional Hospital are expected to be handed over in August next year, to allow for testing of the new systems ahead of a September 2014 opening date.
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Sourced from the local chronicle paper & published by Henry Sapiecha

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