Council debates future of Kingaroy’s private hospital
AFTER postponing the appointment of directors to the Board of Directors of South Burnett Community Hospital Foundation from March, council has finally announced the new members.
During the May council meeting Mayor Brett Otto said they had filled seven out of nine spots.
Wayne Kratzmann, Danita Potter, Sheena Lindholm, Helen Roth, Karyn Bjelke-Petersen and Kirstie Schumacher were successful candidates who nominated themselves for the roles.
Before the voting took place, council's chief executive Mark Pitt said Cr Potter and Cr Schumacher had to leave the meeting because even though the positions were voluntary and there was no remuneration, it could be a perceived conflict.
He said they would act as community members in these roles, not as councillors.
Mr Pitt said he did not have to leave the room as secretary of the board because he was council's mandatory shareholder and held the interest of council.
After the five remaining councillors unanimously voted in favour to appoint the directors, the conversation steered towards the purpose of the board and future of the Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital.
Mr Pitt said the board was a charitable foundation and was targeted at supporting the health services in the region as well as conducting fundraising for them.
Deputy mayor Gavin Jones said he wanted to raise some concerns about what was currently available for residents.
"I know we have an ageing population so I know how important (health services) is," Cr Jones said.
"We are getting a brand new facility being built up the road here at the (Kingaroy) hospital.
"As a council, I would love to see us lobby and try to get the private hospital and the facilities down here and bring it up there, so all of the hospital and medical facilities are in the one place.
"This building down here is an ageing facility and it's going to take a lot of money to keep it up to standard.
"I don't want to be taken the wrong way because I know how important services are to the region, but we need to work hard at getting some type of private investor to build something up there close to the hospital."
Cr Otto said he supported Cr Jones' idea to have all of the health services closer together.
"It does make sense to have health services in the same precinct," Cr Otto said.
"(The community hospital) will need a lot of expenditure to repair it or replace it.
"We will need to give a lot of careful consideration to moving forward."
Councillor Kathy Duff said she was in favour of the community hospital, regardless of its locations.
"I am sympathetic towards the community hospital," Cr Duff said.
"It has a place whether it be where it is or somewhere else.
"I think there are a lot of gaps in our region for specialists.
"I know the Murgon Family Practice relies heavily on it for visiting specialists."