Push for Cooloola Coast health centre gains momentum
SUPPORT is building for a multi-disciplinary health centre on the Cooloola Coast.
A public meeting will be held at Tin Can Bay this weekend and a petition is circulating calling for coast residents to support the idea.
Retired Cooloola Coast Clinic GP Dr Peter Martin will address the meeting this Saturday at 9am in the Tuncunba Hall, Tin Can Bay.
"What is being pursued is really a multi-disciplinary health centre consisting of an emergency unit to triage and stabilise emergency patients prior to transport to a major hospital (via a helipad) such as Gympie or Sunshine Coast - and a day surgery unit and a telehealth unit,” Dr Martin said.
He said the proposed facility would benefit the entire Cooloola Coast community.
"The day surgery unit will reduce long travel times for local patients having endoscopies and advanced skin surgery by bringing appropriate visiting specialists and some specialised procedures to the local community,” he said.
"The telehealth unit will assist in reducing travel to specialists at hospital outpatient clinics as far away as Brisbane for suitable patients.”
Dr Martin believes some rural and remote communities in the region lack adequate services.
"Many small rural hospitals have closed either fully or partially or their function changed to aged care. It is time to start reversing this in a cost effective way to provide better services to country people,” he said.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Naomi Dwyer said there were no plans for any new health services on the Cooloola Coast.
"...fewer patients now have to travel to Brisbane for complex care following the opening of the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital in March 2017,” she said.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett said he had been approached to kick start the project.
"I am keen to play an active role in support of the Cooloola Coast's needs,” Mr Perrett said
"I look forward to the community discussion around how to advance the range of options for health care in the region to cater for local needs and the regular influx of tourists to the region.”
Mr Perrett said it made sense to open a new facility to cater for the influx of tourists.
"As a family friendly tourist holiday destination local health facilities frequently have to cater for visitors who significantly swell the local population during peak holiday periods,” he said.
"Local facilities are stretched during these periods, and we need to find the best way to quickly and most efficiently treat accidents and emergencies, as well as potential options for day surgery instead of transporting patients to facilities further away.”
"Patients have had to travel to appointments not only in Gympie but as far away as Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to the south and Hervey Bay in the north.”