$150,000 towards finding a solution for private hospital

THE council has voted towards taking over the South Burnett Private Hospital, but it is a long way from reopening.

Under the proposal supported by the majority of councillors the hospital will be renamed, and the council will try to find a business case towards reopening.

The hospital will be renamed the "Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital" and the council will hire a health specialist.

The health specialist will be tasked with preparing a transfer of the hospital licence from Pulse Health and prepare a new business model for hospital operations.

It was this that divided the council, with councillors Ros Heit and Damien Tessmann fearing the hospital could be a future drain on ratepayers.

The council still faces a number of hurdles to reopening the hospital on their proposed September 1 date, including obtaining national accreditation and working out a business plan that is cost neutral to ratepayers.

But with council elections coming up on March 19, the decision to reopen the hospital will fall on a different mayor, and a council with many new faces.

There is no guarantee the hospital will reopen, but this vote will give the council an option to keep it open.  

For full coverage on the vote and what it means for the South Burnett pick up tomorrow's South Burnett Times.