The highly anticipated Sunshine Coast University Hospital will open next month, and will see significant changes in the way that patients – particularly older people – are care for in the public health system.

Mr Kevin Hegarty, Chief Executive, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said that to support the growing population of older people in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions, changes will be made to enhance services and access for older people.

“With the opening of Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) this month, Nambour General Hospital will become the main hub for services for older people with supporting services available at SCUH, Gympie Hospital, Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Caloundra Health Service and in the community,” he said.

Rehabilitation services focused on older people will be provided at Nambour, Maleny and Gympie.

“Integration within the community is vital and our team focuses on providing expert treatment that allows people to leave hospital as soon as appropriate for their clinical condition, and return to their place of residence,” Mr Hegarty said.

Some of these services include a community geriatric team (home based specialist geriatrics), Aged Care Assessment Team, and a community support and rehabilitation team.

A new community hospital interface program will be rolled out to improve the transition of patients from hospital back to their home or residential care facility following an acute episode of care.

Another new program, Hospital in the Home, will provide home-based acute care as a substitute for people who would otherwise need to be in hospital, while short term support and active management will be available through a transition care program.

“In order to deliver these programs the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service has service provision arrangements with in excess of 20 non-government organisations and private providers,” Mr Hegarty said.

“Importantly we also have a close working relationship with our local PHN and key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations,” he said.

The $1.8 billion hospital is being delivered as part of Queensland’s first public / private partnership involving a consortium comprising Lendlease, Siemens, First State Super and Capella Capital.

Spotless Facilities Services is partnering with the consortium, which will be responsible for maintaining the buildings and grounds for 25 years.

The hospital forms part of the broader Oceanside Kawana, a $5 billion hub comprising health, retail, commercial, education and residential housing. There will also be a future town centre.

An eight-storey, $63 million, 140-apartment vertical retirement village will be built adjacent to a 151-bed Opal Aged Care facility that opened in March.

The 100ha project, managed by Stockland has been established around the hospital and is expected to generate more than 16,000 jobs in the long term – 3,000 of which will be in the hospital.

“We are creating Australia’s healthiest city by the beach – a thriving, 24/7 world-class destination which will be a centre of health and medical excellence, and a hub for research and innovation,” Stockland regional manager Ben Simpson told The Courier Mail last month.

“It’s also shaping up to be a major employment hub for the Sunshine Coast, with new research by consulting firm Urbis showing that 16,000 long-term jobs will be created on completion.”

TAFE Queensland has formed key training partnerships to help ensure a strong supply of skilled workers, with a growing pool of qualified employees needed across a range of roles, especially for aged care, complex mental health, disability and behavioural issues.