THE era of "ice" has prompted an urgent call to upgrade Gympie Hospital's Emergency Department.
Shadow Queensland Health Minister Mark McArdle, who visited Gympie Hospital with MP Tony Perrett, said it was "a super effort" by staff that kept the department running, despite its architectural inadequacies.
Mr McArdle criticised the lack of a dedicated pediatric area and said children had "particular needs and have to be placed in a situation where they are comfortable."
Mr McArdle said the Gympie Emergency Department was too small and was badly designed, meaning nurses may have trouble keeping patients under observation.
But he said a particular problem was the lack of a secure mental health room in the hospital, a real problem in cases involving the drug, "ice".
"This type of patient can be dangerous and is looked after in the public area.
"If police are not able to be there, hospital security have to control them.
"I don't think they are trained in the care and control of this type of patient."
On the bright side, Mr McArdle said the opening of the new Kawana public hospital would be a boost to the region's health care system.
The Kawana hospital would provide training opportunities and would take some load off Gympie, allowing improved services in many areas.
Attracting specialists to the area was difficult, but "the ED issue is the big urgent need."