Residents across the McKinlay Shire in North West Queensland are set to benefit from a new hospital in Julia Creek.
The Julia Creek Multipurpose Health Service underwent an extensive renovation and now has a modern emergency room, upgraded aged-care wing, new air-conditioning and an outpatients, pharmacy, pathology and other staff amenities.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles felt incredibly honoured to officially open the Julia Creek Multipurpose Health Service on Wednesday August 14.
"I am delighted, following our announcement of $8.4 million funding just over a year ago, that residents of the Mckinlay Shire now have a brand-new hospital," Mr Miles said.
"The new hospital will provide a major boost for all patients in the McKinlay Shire who will experience better facilities and improved services that have been co-designed to meet the unique needs of the community.
"Delivering care closer to home by investing in rural and remote hospitals is a priority for the Palaszczuk Government.
"We want to ensure every Queenslander has access to quality healthcare wherever they call home.
"The new hospital is an integrated care model, accommodating primary care, hospital care and aged care all under one roof.
"I am confident the new facilities at the hospital will radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff both now and in the years to come," he said.
North West Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Paul Woodhouse said the Board was grateful to the Queensland Government for the funding, without which a new hospital in Julia Creek would not have been possible.
"It was a unique opportunity to have a new facility designed and built to meet the needs of the community, and the Board acknowledges the strong support of the community, the Advisory Network and the McKinlay Shire Council," Mr Woodhouse said.
North West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Lisa Davies Jones said the new hospital was co-designed with the local community.
"We started by coming together in a workshop to agree on the service model that best meets the needs of the community," Ms Davis said.
"The importance of health promotion and primary care in terms of keeping people healthy is well recognised and this has been a wonderful opportunity to design a hospital with an integrated model of care.
"This brings with it the benefits of pooled skills and resources, helping us to achieve the best health outcomes for the people of Julia Creek."
Member for Traeger Robbie Katter said the Julia Creek Hospital upgrade was an example of what could be achieved when parties genuinely committed to the bush held the balance of power in the State of Federal parliaments.
"From an initial request for $2.7 million to improve the aged care facilities in Julia Creek, to a $5.5 million commitment in 2016, then finally the overall $8 million improvements we are opening
today, this has been a real win for the bush and I am very pleased to be able to have been a part of it," he said.
"I would like to congratulate the McKinlay community, and particularly the McKinlay Shire Council and the staff of the North West Hospital and Health Service and the Julia Creek Hospital, for all their lobbying efforts over the years.
"The improvements to this rural hospital have and will go a long way to improving the health outcomes and overall quality of life for those in this area, and moreover the liveability that is so important when you get out to these remote parts.
"We deserve health facilities in the bush that are comparable to what those on the coast have access to, and today's opening shows what can be done for our outback communities when there is a rural-focused balance of power situation."
Mr Katter said there were a number of other centres in his electorate that urgently required upgrades to their local health facilities, namely Charters Towers, Hughenden and Cloncurry.
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