OVER the last three decades, I’ve visited the ageing wards of the Gold Coast Hospital more times than I can recall.
Births, broken bones, visits to the emergency department, my dad’s first and second rounds in the ring with cancer – it was these types of events that had me enter the big block on High Street dozens of times over the years.
Then last year, my daughter was sick. Really sick. At three weeks of age, she contracted with what turned out to be viral meningitis. For four terrifying days, we paced the paediatric ward, where the most amazing doctors and nurses you could ask for nursed her back to health.
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Honestly, the staff were top notch.
The surroundings? Not so much.
The rooms were dated, to put it nicely – and by that I mean, dilapidated furniture, mouldy bathrooms, tired equipment and peeling paintwork were the norm. It was the stuff The Block fans dream about.
Needless to say, we were well overdue for a new hospital and the new Gold Coast University premises certainly deliver. Unfortunately, I’ve come to know those digs fairly well, as my dad is tackling his third bout of the Big C.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, I can attest to the fact that it truly is a world-class hospital. The lobby looks more like a beautiful hotel or a plush office building than a hospital, and the level of equipment and expertise on offer is second-to-none.
Seriously – it’s so good that it’s preferable to private hospitals on the Gold Coast.
So says Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, who is calling it “the most outstanding hospital of its kind in the country”… But, he’s also kinda urging you not to use it, if you can avoid it.
“The demand increase has been absolutely extraordinary here, and the big challenge for us is, we didn’t design a hospital to take people out of the private sector,” he says.
In other words, what he’s saying is: if you can afford to keep shelling out a few grand a year for private health insurance (on top of your Medicare contributions, that is), can you take your sick self on over to Pindara, Allamanda or John Flynn?
‘Cause you’re clogging up spots in the fancy new hospital for everyone else.
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