We should be happy with new hospital as it is: Coast MP
CALOUNDRA MP Mark McArdle says people need to "take stock" and remember the fight to get the new $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital built in the first place, rather than "diminishing its worth" by talking down its value as the wait for a fully-fledged medical school continues.
In a statement released yesterday Mr McArdle said the hospital which would revolutionise public healthcare in Australia had been the result of a long, arduous journey and called for the community to embrace the facility ahead of its scheduled opening in April.
"For years Sunshine Coast residents fought hard for a new public hospital and now it's almost here," Mr McArdle said.
"Remember the cry Hospital Delay, No Way, remember the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Action Group (SCUHAG) and the hundreds who marched to protest the delay in funding the hospital and the 10-year effort we all put in to make certain it would be built.
"Why then are we the residents of the Coast who fought so hard to get the new hospital going out of our way to talk downs its value and losing sight of the bigger picture?
"Of course medical training is critical, but let's not down-grade our hospital and all the hard work we have put into it.
"Let's be thankful for the great work Queensland Health employees on the Coast and the community have done to get it up and running and the myriad of medical courses now being offered by USC, including nursing and midwifery which didn't exist 10 years ago."
Mr McArdle said the community had "a lot to be thankful for" and a lot to "pat ourselves on the back about".
"This hospital came about because you the residents, over a long time, fought for it," he said.
"Together we should be proud of what we have achieved. There is always scope for improvements and a university medical training school is very important but we who fought for it should be proud of it not diminishing its worth."
Mr McArdle's comments come as the results of a Federal Government review into medical school placements at universities across the nation are eagerly anticipated.
Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace told the Daily recently he expected the results of the review to be finalised by March-April, although it would take a further 12-18 months to establish the medical school.
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital needs a further 15 medical school placements to make a Griffith University proposal viable, with those placements to be drawn from existing placements at other universities after the Federal Government expressed concern at a projected oversupply of doctors.
The issue has been the subject of much politicking between the State and Federal governments over specialist training places and funding of the 15 additional placements.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has also launched a public campaign pushing for the placements to be delivered to ensure a fully-functioning medical school will be delivered to the new facility.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kevin Hegarty previously told the Daily the benefits of a fully-functioning medical school included improved levels of care and the ability to recruit the best and brightest specialists, as well as improving the hospital's research ability.