NEXT STEP: Minister for Health Steven Miles.
NEXT STEP: Minister for Health Steven Miles. Mike Knott BUN030719MILES5

500 workers will construct hospital redevelopment

ABOUT 500 construction workers will get to work next year on the $124 million Ipswich Hospital redevelopment, designed to accommodate the region's swelling population and reduce the amount of people having to travel elsewhere to access care.

Speaking in parliament, Health Minister Steven Miles said the State Government was delivering on its "bold plan" for the hospital.

Planning is well under way for the $91 million mental health facility, with construction set to start next year, and a $5.7 million MRI machine is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

At the last State Budget, a record figure of $642.8 million was allocated to West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, an increase of $35.7 million.

"West Moreton is one of the fastest growing regions in Queensland, with the population forecast to more than double to 590,000 by 2036," he said.

"While under construction, the project will employ about 500 construction workers, which includes local trade apprentices.

"That new facility will provide a much-needed boost to mental health services and create a space for further expansion of the hospital.

"Recently I was pleased to visit the staff of the mental health unit with the Member for Ipswich. They do an important and sometimes challenging job and I am pleased that the Palaszczuk Government is supporting them with this new facility."

Mr Miles said the installation of an MRI machine will mean about 50 people will no longer have to leave Ipswich Hospital every week to get their images.

"The MRI machine we are delivering for Ipswich Hospital is a first of its kind in the southern hemisphere," he said.

"Designed to be patient friendly alongside cutting-edge imaging technology, the machine produces its images via a blanket wrapped around the patient. This means that the chamber in which the patient lies is much larger, more comfortable and less likely to cause anxiety."

The recent budget also included funding for 87 more staff, on top of the 800 nurses, doctors and other health professionals hired in West Moreton in the past four years.