Parking pressures around Cairns Base Hospital are set to ease with the opening of the Hospital’s new car park, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas announced today.

Mr Lucas said the new eight-storey car park, which will open for business from today, will provide 667 parking spaces and was an important milestone in the construction of the $446.3 million Cairns Base Hospital redevelopment.

“I am well aware that parking at the Hospital has long been an issue for staff, patients and their families,” Mr Lucas said.

“This new 667 space car park will help to significantly address this.

“The new car park has an extra 270 car parks than the previous car park – that’s an increase of 70 per cent.

“All parking is also undercover, which will be of further benefit to locals given the region’s tropical climate,” he said.

Member for Cairns Desley Boyle said the new car park will continue to be managed by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.

“The ongoing management of the car park by the Foundation means that staff, patients and visitors have an easy and secure place to park whilst also assisting the Foundation to provide extra equipment for the Hospital,” Ms Boyle said.

“The new car park has a modern car park management system similar to that operating at Cairns Central and the Cairns airport, where the public receive a ticket at the entry gate and then pay at the automatic pay station before exiting the car park.

The car park is open to the general public from 6am to 8pm, with staff, patients and their families able to access the car park after 8pm via an intercom service.

Security measures have been designed into the car park building to provide a high level of security particularly for night staff accessing the car park.

The new car park is located on the corner of Lake and Grove streets, with vehicle entry from Digger St. A roundabout is also being installed on the corner of Grove, Digger and Grafton Streets to improve road safety in this area.

In 2013, the car park will be linked to the main hospital (Block D) via an elevated walkway over Lake Street.

Until the link is completed, access between the car park and main hospital campus is across pedestrian crossings on Grove and Lake Streets and a temporary new entrance to the hospital has been created on Lake St.

Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said with the opening of the new car park, the old car park closes and the major redevelopment works would get underway.

“The first stage of this will be the demolition of the old car park to clear the way for the construction of the new clinical services building (Block D), which is due for completion in 2013,” Mr Wettenhall said.

“The car park building – known as Block E – will also house the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre, with the interior fit out for cancer care services already underway and scheduled for completion in early 2011.

“This will enable cancer care services to commence in the purpose-built facility in mid-2011,” he said.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the ground floor of the building would also house the Hospital’s new radiation oncology services.

“The first floor will house other cancer care services including day chemotherapy, specialist outpatient cancer care clinics and related support services,” Mr Pitt said.

“Delivering radiation oncology services in 2011 will mean around 340 patients a year will no longer have to travel to Townsville or Brisbane, allowing them to have their treatment closer to home.”

In addition to the $446.3 million Queensland Government funding for redevelopment of Cairns Base Hospital, the Australian Government has contributed $8.3 million towards the construction of the new radiation oncology facility.

The Cairns Base Hospital redevelopment will provide an additional 168 beds (overnight and same day beds) by the end of 2014, bringing the total to 531 beds.

When complete, the redeveloped hospital will provide new and improved health services, including;

  • an ambulatory cancer care centre with a new radiation oncology service
  • additional cardiac care facilities
  • additional surgical capacity including increased day surgery
  • expanded intensive care capacity
  • expanded birthing services, special care nursery and a new low risk birth centre
  • additional aged care and rehabilitation services
  • additional beds for mental health services.

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