FEDERAL Opposition leader Bill Shorten announced funding for a specialist urgent care centre at Logan Hospital on the first day of his eight day Queensland blitz on Thursday.
The $33.4 million commitment was promised with the aim of adding extra capacity to the overcrowded hospital.
It comes as the Queensland Labor government faces political pressure from Logan council and the LNP over reports of increased ambulance ramping over the past 12 months.
Mr Shorten said the current outpatient centre at Logan Hospital was busier than the Flinders Street Railway Station in Melbourne
“What we see is a very crowded outpatient clinic. You have people with fractures, people who injured themselves at home... people with painful injuries and very crowded facilities,” he said.
“We will build an outpatient centre that will deal with urgent care and that will make a big difference to the ability of Logan Hospital to deliver healthcare.”
Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King said the urgent care centre would divert category four and five patients with less serious injuries from the emergency departments.
“Patients who might have a minor fracture or a scrape or cut or upper respiratory tract issues are people who should not be in the emergency department because they don’t want to be admitted to hospital,” she said.
“But they do need an extra level of care beyond what can be done in general practice. So this urgent care centre will take pressure of Logan Hospital.”
The urgent care centre will operate from Logan Hospital with 11 beds, 22 consulting rooms and pathology, diagnostic and imaging services.
It will operate 24 hours seven days a week and will treat urgent, but non life-threatening cases.
Labor’s candidate for Forde and Logan Hospital radiographer Des Hardman said he lobbied for the urgent care centre due to the hospital being at 100 per cent capacity every day.
“This centre will add capacity to Logan’s Emergency Department and also eliminate the need for many local patients to travel longer distances to get the care they need and deserve,” he said.
“The new centre would see around 15,000 patients a year freeing up vital resources at the Hospital for more serious cases.”
A site for the facility will be decided after consultation with Logan Hospital, Logan council, Griffith University, Logan TAFE and other stakeholders.
The Queensland government has announced $280 million to expand Logan Hospital, but construction is not expected to begin until next year.
Investment in the centre will come from Labor’s $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund.
The seat of Forde is held by the LNP member Bert van Manen and is one of the most marginal seats in Australia.
An election is due this year and is expected to be held in May.