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1 October, 2020

South Cairns Health Facility Officially Opened

Construction is complete on a first of its kind dual-purpose health facility delivering a jobs bonanza during construction for local Cairns tradespeople and industry.

The $14.9 million Cairns South Health Facility on Walker Road in Edmonton has been officially opened today by the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP, Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Mulgrave. 

“This is a unique health building in Australia because of its ability to convert from a community health facility, into an emergency response medical centre during natural disasters. 

“The local involvement in this construction project has been excellent. “One of my priorities was to ensure a high level of local involvement and there were 559 workers inducted on site during the 12 months of construction with 94 per cent of those total workers coming from greater Cairns. 

“I think this project is an example of a strong local project bringing jobs and industry to the area, particularly during this unusual time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am pleased to see the completion of this first of its kind facility and would like to thank Principal Contractor Hansen Yuncken for getting the job done during the difficulties associated with the pandemic and in time for the 2020/2021 cyclone season. “In the event of a natural disaster, such as a cyclone, and if Cairns Hospital is evacuated, the facility can convert into an interim medical centre complete with triage facilities, procedure rooms and an operating theatre to enable birthing if required. 

“The facility, located opposite the designated cyclone shelter at the PCYC Edmonton, has its own power generation and water supply can operate for up to five days post disaster. “There is a state-of-the-art helipad on-site to transfer patients needing care following a disaster event or to evacuate patients from the area. 

“I am also pleased to see the raintrees on the site are thriving and have been retained on the site,” Mr Pitt said. Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service acting Chief Executive Officer Tina Chinery said the Cairns South Health Facility will commence operations in November.

“It will operate as a renal dialysis hub for patients from southern Cairns six days a week during normal day to day operations. “It is going to save a lot of travel for those patients from the south side who will be able to have their dialysis three times a week locally, rather than travelling in to Cairns Hospital. “During normal operation, this facility will provide a much-needed dialysis service with 12 chairs available to cater for the health needs of those patients with end stage renal failure in the growing South Cairns community,” Ms Chinery said. 

“When the doors open in November, staff on-site will include a pharmacist, dietician, nurses, a part-time doctor and an indigenous liaison officer. “Between now and November, our staff will be preparing and testing how we manage the transition over from community health centre to emergency medical facility, which is very timely as we approach the cyclone season. “During emergency mode up to 48 health care staff can be on-site with up to 28 treatment spaces and an additional triage and fast track area supported by x-ray and pharmacy facilities. 

“Additionally, in emergency mode there are treatment spaces for high acuity patients and people requiring surgical or minor procedures. “The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) is delighted with this new development and is looking forward to integrating its capacity into our service network in the region.” 

Rosemary Iloste, Chair of the Health Service’s Trinity Community Consultation Committee welcomed the development of the new health facility. “As a community member, it’s very reassuring to know that we will have an emergency health facility built to withstand a category 5 cyclone.” “We are sure that the people of the southern corridor of Cairns will be very appreciative of the extra health facility in their area.”

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