Despite rumours the Esk Hospital was to close, a public meeting in Esk was told last night the hospital is not shutting down, and will remain an important part of the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.
Lesley Dwyer, the health service's chief executive, says while there are discussions about what services will be offered by the hospital in the future, the board is not discussing its closure or relocation.
As proof, she cited a recent project to replace the roof, at a cost of $600,000, admitting that one challenge for the health service is the 'ageing infrastructure' at the hospital.
While the meeting, hosted by the Somerset Regional Ratepayers Association, was cheered by the news, many in the crowd voiced their concerns about the need for additional general practitioner services in the town.
Jan Allan, secretary of the association, says the Esk area is relatively isolated from surrounding towns and the need to visit Gatton or Fernvale for medical treatment means it is a long drive, especially for older residents.
With GP services controlled at a federal level through the issue of Medicare Provider Numbers, Ms Dwyer says the hospital's doctors cannot act as GPs unless they are supervised by a doctor with a Medicare number.
"West Moreton Health has now commenced discussions with the local General Practitioner to further develop the current model of Esk Health Service medical officers working within the current general practitioner practice to further enhance this service," Ms Dwyer says.