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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Tuesday, October 29, 2019

    Palaszczuk Government delivers for Cairns Hospital

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Tuesday, October 29, 2019

    Palaszczuk Government delivers for Cairns Hospital

    The Palaszczuk Government will invest in detailed planning and design to expand the Cairns Emergency Hospital Department.

    Health Minister Steven Miles said the government was delivering $2 million on projects to see more patients in the short term and the long term.

    “We are investing to refurbish the Emergency Department, increase bed capacity, working with staff to improve processes in the hospital, and running special projects that address the high number of presentations to the Cairns Hospital ED.

    “But what we really need is the full expansion to the ED to address long term demand. That’s what Federal Labor committed to at the election,” Mr Miles said.

    “I have written to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to keep the proposal alive and offered for the state to contribute half the cost.

    “He has ignored that request and the people of Cairns.”

    Mr Miles said the Palaszczuk Government would power ahead with planning for the project.

    “It is not too late for the Morrison Government to work with us and make this commitment to the people of Cairns.

    “This is why the State Government has committed $600,000 to develop a detailed business case for the expansion of the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department.

    “Demand on the Cairns Hospital continues to grow month on month and year on year, presentations to the ED have increased by four per cent over the last four years, increasing to five per cent last financial year, with around 74,000 people through the doors.

    “A $1 million refurbishment is underway and on track for completion this year. But as more people come to the Emergency Department, there’s also increasing numbers of patients in the hospital. 

    “That’s why we’re also announcing a $1 million commitment for a new Cairns Patient Access Coordination Hub (PACH).”

    These hubs have been successfully introduced in South East Queensland to help coordinate care so we can ensure patients receive the right care at the right time.

    The Hub will include an emergency medicine specialist doctor and Queensland Ambulance Service personnel to centrally coordinate patients to receive the right care at the right time in the right place.

    It will support rural clinicians and GPs to provide care closer to the patient's home where clinically appropriate, or it will ensure the incoming patient is admitted to right location, which could be the emergency department or a specialty unit such as cardiac care.   

    For patients this will means more streamlined care, less time waiting, and potentially being able to receive care closer to home.

    “Finally, we are also providing $350,000 for a program that works with staff to improve the way patients flow through the Cairns Hospital.

    More than 500 staff and community members have participated in a total of 25 workshops and over 200 staff have assisted to prioritise the solutions.

    Despite the increased demand on Cairns Hospital, 100 per cent of Category 1 patients (life threatening conditions) were seen within the recommended time last month.

    In September, the median waiting time for treatment in the Cairns HHS Emergency Departments was 14 minutes.

    “This is a testament to the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s dedication to patient safety, and the hard work of the staff.”

    “Once again, I’d like to thank all the staff at the health service for continually providing excellent care to the patients of Far North Queensland.”


    Media contact:            Katharine Wright 0428 957 903