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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1784


Mr PITT (Hinkler) (13:46): Last week I toured the site of Australia's first fully-integrated digital hospital. On track for completion in August next year, St Stephen's Hospital will attract new medical specialists to the Hinkler electorate and take pressure off the Hervey Bay public hospital. It will mean fewer patients will have to travel to the big cities to receive treatment. Cokram Construction project manager, Ian Coulburn, showed me around the impressive site, where approximately 65 per cent of the workers are local. Leanne Tones from Uniting Care Health is very proud of the 96-bed facility, and rightly so.

All medical records, X-ray and pathology results will be accessible to doctors and nurses anywhere in the hospital, whether at the bedside or at the nurses station. Medical devices such as blood pressure pumps will also be integrated. The technology will improve efficiency and enhance the experience of patients and clinicians. The hospital will include renal and oncology services. On that note, I welcome the health minister's decision earlier this week to list medicine for the treatment of certain types of cancer on the PBS. Also, the genetic tests for non-small cell lung cancer will be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

While Bundaberg has long had a private hospital, the lack of a private hospital in Hervey Bay prior to 2006 was a limiting factor in both retaining and attracting professionals to the southern end of my electorate. Championed by local state and federal MPs,Ted Sorensen and Paul Neville, the $87.5 million project will have $47 million from the Health and Hospitals Fund by the time it is complete. I look forward to working with Uniting Care Health to make Hervey Bay one of the country's leading health hubs.