Big plans for Warwick Hospital to become major facility
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WITHIN the next 10 years the Warwick Hospital will go from a small, rural hospital to a major regional facility, bringing with it expansions and upgrades of facilities and services.
The plan will address the growing need for health services in Warwick, with aims to return vital health care to the town.
Director of Nursing Anita Bolton has outlined the future plan for the hospital, which is growing at a faster rate than projected.
Speaking at the Community Network of Warwick breakfast on Wednesday, Ms Bolton highlighted specific areas of focus in the hospital.
"There is work in the background to get a service that works for this community," she said.
"The whole community is really for it. They need us to grow."
The nurse with three decades' experience said the process would be gradual, warning that upgrading to a regional hospital overnight would be a failure.
Among the new developments is a new CT scanner in the Phillip's Ward, due at the end of October.
Ms Bolton said the impacts of the CT scanner would be "enormous".
"It means we can deliver first stroke care," she said.
"Through tele-health we can liaise with specialists in Toowoomba but for the first time we can provide the first phase of care here."
Another ward due for changes is the Hanlon Ward - which Ms Bolton said was in for a busy year.
The Hanlon Ward has had a 17% increase in patients in the past year, with three times more demand for antenatal services.
Despite the growth, maternity only grew 1% - with only one in three local women having their babies at the Warwick Hospital.
Ms Bolton said there would be a move to boost services to allow more mums to give birth locally.
"We've linked child health and pediatrics into the Hanlon Ward," she said.
"There's a shortage of paediatric services and I've been asking myself how are we going to meeting this community's need for pediatricians?
"My next aim is to get a pediatrician."
The Emergency Department will also be subject to an expansion, with Ms Bolton keen to exceed wait time targets and build community relations. "Our targets are that people are seen within four hours - 96% of people in the emergency department are seen within four hours," she said.
"I have an idea of bringing the emergency department and community together - having the community aligned is the key to developing a relationship with private doctors."
Ms Bolton said a lot of work would be done renovating the current hospital building during the next decade.
"Part of our 10-year plan is to make it through another 10 years in our building," she said.
"In our 10-year plan is the second floor plan - some services won't be available during that.
"The whole hospital will also be rewired."
Ms Bolton also used to her speech to outline her personal view for health care in the community.
"What I see as an outsider coming in is more GP space and bulk-billing," she said.
"As a group of people we do need to start advocating for a council community health plan. It's time to make Warwick stand out as a healthy community."
WARWICK HOSPITAL STATS
- 150% annual growth in tele-health patients
- Hospital is at 85% or more capacity at any one time
- $26million business
- 96% of emergency patients seen within four hours
- 17% increase in Hanlon Ward patients
- 300% increase in demand for antenatal services