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Roma hospital safety concerns call for upgrade

A new Roma Hospital could be on the cards with the current hospital needing significant repairs.
A new Roma Hospital could be on the cards with the current hospital needing significant repairs. Graham Osborne

THE Queensland Department of Health and the South West Hospital and Health Service have both flagged the need for a new hospital in Roma, with the current hospital having fire safety problems, asbestos, false floors and ceilings and cracks in walls among other problems.

A new hospital would also provide an opportunity for all health services in Roma to fall under one roof with services currently strewn across town.

South West Hospital and Health Services CEO Graem Kelly said the Roma Hospital building is over 80 years old which in terms of the quality of building is really struggling.

"There is some movement and there are cracks in walls," Mr Kelly said.

"We've got false floors and false ceilings on multiple levels and there is asbestos in certain sections.

"Whenever we touch it we have to address asbestos needs."

Mr Kelly said the administrative offices being used in the old nurses quarters are not going to come up to fire standards.

"We struggle in terms of what would be expected as contemporary quality for the public out there," he said.

"We have done significant fire works on the building but we still have lots to do and we are not up to the standard we would like.

"I think it would be a high priority for a new build and how that is managed by government we will have to wait and see."

Mr Kelly said the midwifery area at the moment is not up to scratch.

"We can't get beds out the doors which is a fire trap for us," he said.

"We are aware of that and we've got work-arounds but it is less than satisfactory.

"Our kitchens need upgrading and there is a whole lot of fragmentation.

"Technology and everything has moved on so we need to move on with it."

Queensland Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg said many of the hospitals in rural and remote areas are getting to the end of their practical life and Roma is one of them.

"It is a particular problem and what we have to do now is to start to work towards a gradual process of replacement of hospitals such as Roma and Charleville and others that need work," he said.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense to spend millions and millions of dollars on upgrades when you know one day they are going to have to be replaced in the not too distant future."

Mr Springborg said there have been years and years of neglect of rural hospitals and he is not prepared to sweep it under the carpet.


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