The new Roma Hospital building is now fully operational. (From left) Dr Alan Richardson, Samantha Edmonds, Mel Wakefield Pic: Lachlan Berlin
The new Roma Hospital building is now fully operational. (From left) Dr Alan Richardson, Samantha Edmonds, Mel Wakefield Pic: Lachlan Berlin

Southwest residents to get healthcare at new Roma Hospital

A NEW tide has turned for outback healthcare as South West Hospital and Health Service makes the full transition to the new $116 million Roma Hospital building.

All services had been fully transferred to the new facility this week, with acute services and the emergency department making the final transition.

Almost five years in the making, the hospital was announced by Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk back in 2016, and has since been designed and constructed, with the building being finished earlier this year.

SWHHS board chair Karen Tully is very excited to see the new three-level hospital completed, sitting on the corner of McDowall and Currey streets in Roma.

"You've got the newest hospital in Australia… and I can safely say for the next day or three," she said.

"It's a magnificent asset for Southwest Queensland, not just Roma.

"But we certainly will attract more high calibre health professionals.

"Particularly for the specialist and support services, so if people are needing that additional medical support in any way, it certainly will be offered out of Roma."

One of the most convenient new facilities are dedicated telehealth rooms, which will save southwest residents a trip to Brisbane or Toowoomba for their consultations.

"We haven't just refitted a room for telehealth, they are purpose built rooms," Ms Tully said.

"The adoption of telehealth for consumers and patients has stepped up due to COVID."

Ms Tully likes the ambience and feel of the new hospital, dressed up with bottle tree art and colourful sun shades.

But the old Roma Hospital that stands next to the new one will be demolished after 70 years of serving the southwest, to make room for over 200 free parking spaces.

Ms Tully predicts this will be done by March 2021.

The new Roma Hospital building is now fully operational. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
The new Roma Hospital building is now fully operational. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

Director of Medical Services Dr Alan Richardson has the primary responsibility for delivering clinical services to the hospital and has done so for the past five years.

"There's a lot of enhanced technology in the new hospital that enable us to manage patients more efficiently and effectively," Dr Richardson said.

"The new Roma Hospital will not only improve our ability to attract and retain clinical staff, but will also increase the attraction of the Maranoa as a place to live and work for people considering moving to the region.

"It's incredibly exciting… to see their faces when they enter the facility."

Dr Richardson said the entire team is very proud to be able to run this new facility based in the southwest.

Executive Director of Finance Infrastructure and Corporate Services Samantha Edmonds said locals will have the same experience as they would in a metro facility.

"Having a very successful transition from old to new, is something we very much reflect on," Mrs Edmonds said.

"And the partnerships that we've actually had have been second to none."

She said the new Roma Hospital was part of the State Government's $180 million Enhancing Regional Hospitals program.

Director of Nursing Facility Manager Mel Wakefield said all of the hospital's facilities are now under one roof and patients and staff no longer have to hop between buildings.

"We have the capacity to provide an area for mourning for our Indigenous community," Ms Wakefield said.

"Our palliative care room is private, with more space and includes kitchenette and outdoor area - a lot bigger compared to the old hospital."

 

New Roma Hospital Fast Facts:

  • 24 beds in total - comprising 18 single rooms, including palliative care and mental health care, as well as 2 two-bed patient rooms and two birth suites, all with ensuites.
  • The ground floor area will include a large shaded entrance, emergency department, medical imaging department, rehabilitation gym, cafe, allied health treatment areas, pharmacy and separate area for kitchen, laundry, stores and maintenance services.
  • Entrance on McDowall St.
  • Inpatient unit and birth suites will open to an outdoor landscaped area.
  • Perioperative suite including two operating theatres, as well as education and training services and administration and staff facilities, will be on the first floor.
  • The new hospital has been designed to minimise energy usage and, where possible, introduce renewable energy generation.
  • Free parking for up to 220 vehicles, including a staff car park.
  • There is also flexibility to add to the hospital in the future.
  • The new hospital has been designed to minimise energy usage and, where possible, introduce renewable energy generation.
  • Separate accommodation for families with patients in hospital, pregnant women waiting to birth, or people having to travel long distances for day surgery, will be provided on site by the South West Hospital and Health Service.

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