By HARRY CLARKE
SHINING under the Maranoa region’s cool Autumn sun, the new Roma Hospital boasts 22 beds, greater outpatient capacity, two birthday suites, two operating theatres, accommodation for visiting patients and new staff training areas among its upgrades.
The facility is the culmination of a $116 million spend by the Palaszczuck Government which employed more than 60 local workers including five apprentices during construction. The government has allocated a total of $180 million through its Enhancing Regional Hospitals Program.
Of the total cost for the Roma Hospital, $4 million was spent directly with local companies during construction and more than 40 local businesses were engaged for contracting work, supplying services and materials.
The crucial outback health facility was officially opened by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who cut the ribbon in Roma alongside Health Minister Yvette Dath and senior staff from the South West Hospital and Health Service.
Fittingly, a newborn baby was delivered at the hospital on the same day the Premier came to tour the facility.
“Roma Hospital is everything a state-of-the-art hospital should be to support people in the south west and to look after their families and loved ones,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We’re investing more in health ($21.8 billion in this year’s budget) than any government in our state’s history because we know how important it is for people in regional Queensland to have access to great facilities.”
Ms D’Ath said the Roma Hospital project created a total of 97 jobs and amounted to the largest investment in South West Queensland health services since 1987.
“Roma Hospital has been built with patients and communities front of mind, thanks to a strong public consultation process and input from locals,” she said.
“This is a benchmark by which all hospital construction should be measured and I congratulate everyone at South West Hospital and Health Service and all of the stakeholders for delivering this world-class hospital.”
The hospital opening follows the government’s announcement of a new 174-bed public hospital to be built in Springfield.
It also comes amid turmoil within Queensland Health. The government was recently forced to allocate $100 million to address an ambulance ramping crisis in South East Queensland which came to light via news media investigations.