Member backs ICU call

THE community of Gladstone has spoken out and the verdict is clear – the Gladstone Hospital needs an intensive care unit.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said that after being approached by an elderly man in need of an operation, but who was unable to travel to Rockhampton, she had become concerned about a lack of specialised facilities in the city.

Gladstone had once had an ICU, but now in its absence many Gladstone patients had to travel to Rockhampton for various medical conditions.

Yesterday a petition was put into the public domain seeking the re-establishment of an intensive care unit and it is already gaining momentum.

A petition will go online in coming weeks.

Giving her backing to the petition yesterday, Ms Cunningham said: “This is an electorate with significant industrial development currently and proposed in the future, and health services must increase in Gladstone in keeping with the growth projections.”

Ms Cunningham also said that when she raised her concerns with the Minister for Health he acknowledged that Gladstone health services needed attention.

Queensland Health District chief executive Dr Coralee Barker emphasised the hurdles facing the establishment of ICUs outside capital cities.

 Dr Barker said intensive care units were highly specialised facilities and recruitment and services were extremely difficult to get and maintain in non-metropolitan areas.

“Currently Gladstone Hospital has a four-bed High Dependency Unit, which allows for stabilisation of critically ill patients prior to transport to Rockhampton ICU, which is only an hour away,” she said.

Dr Barker said the ability to recruit, train and retain qualified staff was was always a concern.

Such units were generally confined to larger, tertiary hospitals, Dr Barker said

To read the petition or to sign it you can do so at Ms Cunningham's office in Philip Street.

For further information you can contact Ms Cunningham's office on 4978 4650.



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