Cairns University Hospital one step closer to reality

Published Tuesday, 14 December, 2021 at 01:41 PM

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

A historic agreement has been signed today between Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service and James Cook University locking in the purchase of land to be the first physical stage of the new Cairns University Hospital.

The parcel of land, located on the corner of Charles and Digger Streets in Cairns North, is the first step toward the delivery of the Cairns Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) as part of the University Hospital.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said that this was an important milestone to bring Cairns University Hospital one step closer to completion.

“This is a key step forward to delivering even stronger healthcare for the Far North,” said Minister D’Ath.

“CHHHS will relocate some of its research, education and training services to the new Cairns Health Innovation Centre, which will allow an expansion of the current hospital, including adding more beds to relieve pressure.

“The acquisition of the land for the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre will ensure Cairns HHS can continue to provide clinically excellent and sustainable health services for the region.

“Importantly, construction will also support local jobs, which is a vital part of our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that the Preliminary Business Case for the CHIC was currently being evaluated by the Department of Health, which would decide upon the new facility’s specifications, including design and budget.

“Significant planning has already occurred around the CHIC and it will feature an auditorium, modern lecture and teaching spaces, and computer labs for education functions,” said Mr Healy.

“It will also have a series of meeting rooms, flexible open-plan collaboration spaces; research and education staff offices; and innovation spaces to facilitate integrated and interdisciplinary working, as well as highly specialised simulation labs and purpose-built spaces to conduct clinical trials.

“Now that the contract has been signed to purchase the land, we can get on with the job of delivering this game-changing project for Cairns and the Far North.”

Cairns and Hinterland HHS Chief Executive Tina Chinery said that a component of the CHIC would be space for a dedicated Clinical Trials Unit, and a dry laboratory for research, including pharmacy facilities.

“We have an outstanding reputation for our clinical research on the world stage, so having more space to expand on what we are already doing, will help us attract more of this high calibre research,” she said.

“This, in turn, will help us increase our advanced clinical services, infrastructure, expand our education and further our research.”

Ms Chinery said the new building, developed in consultation with CHHHS clinicians, would allow the Health Service to release additional capacity for clinical services within the existing Cairns Hospital footprint, including outpatients.

“The CHIC will be the first physical component of our Cairns University Hospital project – but it is important to remember that the Cairns University Hospital is more than just a building, it’s about our people,” she said.

“The CHIC will complement what we are master-planning to not only increase our bed footprint but create clinical centres of excellence to allow us to further collaborate on research, education and innovation.”


Media contact: 3035 6100