UnitingCare Health has reached agreement with The Friendlies Discount Pharmacy to sell the former St Stephen’s Hospital site in Maryborough in a move both parties say will benefit the local community.
The former hospital site was closed when the new St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay, Australia’s first fully integrated digital hospital, opened on 13 October 2014.
Executive Director of UnitingCare Health, Richard Royle, said the key focus during the sale negotiations was on finding a suitable buyer that had the best interests of the Maryborough community at heart.
“As a church-based organisation our key consideration is providing the best care for our communities with the resources that we have available,” Mr Royle said.
“From the beginning it has been our key objective that whoever purchased this site would put the needs of the community ahead of purely monetary considerations.
“We are very pleased that this objective has now been achieved as we have reached agreement with The Friendlies Discount Pharmacy.”
Chief Executive Officer of The Friendlies Discount Pharmacy, Deon List, said: “We are very excited to retain this significant piece of real estate for the benefit of Maryborough and districts’ citizens.
“Our primary objective is to facilitate an aged care facility, but failing this, we will need to tenant the property in some capacity to allow the maintenance and upkeep of the property. We are keeping our options open at present. It will be very difficult to operate a private hospital again on the site due to a number of factors.
“We would like to acknowledge the extreme generosity of UnitingCare Health in allowing this property to be retained by a likeminded organisation for the benefit of Maryborough and districts’ citizens.”
Mr Royle said St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay operated for the benefit of the entire Fraser Coast region.
As part of UnitingCare Health, St Stephen’s Hospital is a private healthcare provider owned by the Uniting Church, and is the only not-for-profit provider of private hospital services on the Fraser Coast.
St Stephen’s Hospital runs a free patient transport service for patients and visitors that operates from the Maryborough Medical Centre to the new hospital in Hervey Bay. The service runs two times per day, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
Bookings for the patient transport service are essential. To make a booking, please call the Maryborough Medical Centre on 4123 8500 or St Stephen’s Hospital Hervey Bay on 4120 1200.