Hundreds turn out for Eidsvold hospital meeting
THE people of Eidsvold's message was loud and clear - hands off our hospital.
More than 400 people gathered at the community hall last night to voice their concerns about a proposal to close the hospital.
Last week Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said Eidsvold Hospital would not close, but residents remain anxious for the future of their health services.
Wide Bay Health and Hospital Service board chair Gary Kirke apologised to the community "for the emotional upheaval" the announcement had caused.
Mr Kirke said the board was focused on providing a model of care that is at the best interests of the Eidsvold community.
But Eidsvold residents were clearly still upset and tensions simmered as Mr Kirke delivered his speech.
Board members addressed the town meeting and stressed that the proposal was only the beginning of a consultation process.
Community member Julie Tye was troubled that the proposal was drafted without any consultation, describing the current situation as "most unsatisfactory".
"Not one of these board members approached an Eidsvold community member," she said.
"Reductions in services or the closure of the hospital will have far reaching ramifications for the community."
Several community members received rounds of applause and standing ovations as they stated their dissatisfaction with the board members.
"I don't believe this board is capable of running a chook raffle," one resident said.
Eidsvold community member Peter Webster called on Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg to review the performance of the board.
"The community has no confidence in the board's capacity to deliver health services to us," Mr Webster said.
A steering committee will be set up to provide community input into the future of the hospital.
A meeting will be held on Thursday between the board's chief executive Adrian Pennington, chair Gary Kirke, North Burnett Regional Council, community leaders and Eidsvold's community advisory network to further discuss the situation.