MAREEBA HOSPITAL UNIT ‘NOT UP TO STANDARD’
THE sterilisation unit at the Mareeba Hospital will be moved to Atherton because it no longer meets standards.
A meeting was held in Mareeba on Monday with members of Save the Mareeba Hospital, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS), Northern Queensland Primary Health Network and Mareeba Chamber of Commerce.
It was revealed in the meeting that the sterilisation units did not meet National Sterilisation Standards .
Save the Mareeba Hospital Concerned Citizens Group spokesman Denis McKinley said their fears had been revealed with restoring the Mareeba Hospital to its full functional capacity.
“What my concerns are how it got to this level,” he said.
“How would you allow it to get to that condition and allow it to get under standard?
“Losing the sterilisation unit means the hospital is not at the capacity to maintain their own functionality. Mareeba is at a disadvantage because they don’t have an area on site to maintain their own sterilisation.
“My concern is that how could they allow equipment to get out of operational use and not maintain their base core functions as a hospital.”
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service executive director Gabrielle Honeywood said there will be no decline in services at Mareeba Hospital.
“A recent internal review found that the sterilisation unit at Mareeba Hospital did not meet required minimum standards, and this service is now being provided from Atherton Hospital for the Tablelands to ensure compliance,” she said.
“The Mareeba Hospital continues to provide services from their operating theatres.”
Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro said the meeting was primarily about the continued GP service and bulk billing for patients at the Mareeba Hospital.
He said that the chamber hosted the meeting so that all parties could work together with NQPH Network to resolve the GP clinic services and bulk billing to replace the COAG fund after September 1 2017. This will make sure that patients are not disadvantaged and ensures that CHHS, concerned residents, Council, GPs and NQPH Network work together.
“Progress is slow on replacing the COAG funding and it is important that we receive an extension to the time to sort out GP services at the Mareeba hospital,” he said.
In the meeting there were also discussions regarding the new GP co-location model of care, which will commence in October.
Ms Honeywood said the hospital will continue to work with the NQPHN and a general practice to further develop the detail around the establishment of a bulk-billed GP service to be co-located at the Mareeba Hospital.