The Government of Queensland in Australia is set to offer an extra funding of $120m (A$163.7m) for the addition of 351 new beds across the state’s hospital network.

Queensland’s investment is part of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan to create new employment opportunities, while keeping people safe.

The additional beds will be delivered at hospital and health services where the demand is more.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “The health of all Queenslanders is my government’s greatest priority. This pandemic has tested our health system. And with the delta strain now posing a significant threat to Queensland, we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Increasing capacity at our health services will ensure we can relieve pressure on some of the state’s busiest hospitals. This additional $120m (A$163.7m) investment means 351 new beds through a combination of additional public hospital beds and the commissioning of beds from the private sector.

“These 351 beds represent the equivalent of delivering a major new hospital similar in size to Queensland Children’s Hospital. Investing in health is what good Labor governments do. We’ll always invest in health to keep Queenslanders safe and rebuild our economy.”

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With the addition of new beds, the state can tackle the demand in the public health system at a time when resources are also being prioritised for the state’s pandemic response.

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said that the state’s health system has been witnessing higher demand for these services than ever before.

The Minister further added that the state government’s $16.3bn (A$22.2bn) health budget would create an additional hospital capacity when needed.

D’Ath said: “Today’s announcement comes on top of the extra $73.7m (A$100m) we’ve committed to fund new initiatives to relieve pressure on our busy emergency departments.”