Queensland Health will ensure all Queenslanders get the care they need during Cyclone Yasi.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas said measures are being put in place at all facilities expected to be affected by the cyclone, and hospitals in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast are on stand-by to receive evacuated patients.
“This is one of the largest cyclones we have ever seen in Queensland,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is important all precautions are taken as we prepare for the next 24 to 48 hours.
“Cyclone Yasi is predicted to cross the coast as a severe cyclone,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is absolutely appropriate when faced with a threat like this that Queensland Health is taking every precaution.
“This is not just about the destructive force of a cyclone.
“It is also about ensuring that our frontline staff can maximise capacity to deal with the urgent health needs of the community and the immediate response in the aftermath of the cyclone.
“In Cairns, approximately 250 patients from both the public and private hospitals will be evacuated to facilities in the South East by Retrieval Services Queensland, Queensland Ambulance Service, Emergency Management Queensland and the Australian Defence Force.
“Cairns Base Hospital will continue to take patients until 9am tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
“From 9am tomorrow a temporary medical facility will be operational at the Fretwell Park Sporting Complex located at Robert Road, Edmonton,” he said.
Any patients requiring care from this time will receive it from the temporary facility rather than at the Cairns Base Hospital for the duration of the cyclone event.
“All non-urgent care will also be postponed in Cairns.
“Expert advice to Queensland Health is that no other health facility requires evacuation at this stage.
However, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said non-essential services will be postponed in the areas of Innisfail, Yarrabah, Babinda, Townsville, Mackay, Bowen and Proserpine during the cyclone threat.
“These precautions will allow Queensland Health to focus on providing critical services to residents in these areas,” Dr Young said.
“Townsville Hospital is working hard to ensure people have access to the care they need.
“All patients in these areas affected by postponements will be contacted individually, and patients requiring ongoing care, including dialysis, will have alternative arrangements made.
“Contingency plans are in place to ensure health facilities in all affected health facilities can continue to provide a service, including sufficient stocks of medical and surgical supplies and necessary staff are available.
“Further PAH, QEII, RBWH and the RCH in Brisbane will postpone non-urgent elective surgery to accommodate patients evacuated from Cairns.
“Individual contact is being made, however anyone with queries should contact their local hospital.
Dr Young said it is important residents in areas threatened by the cyclone follow precautions to take care of their health.
This includes stocking up on medication, especially prescription medicines, that might be needed during the next few days.
“You should also stock up on water by filling water-holding containers, in case the water supply stops or becomes contaminated,” Dr Young said.
“Freeze extra water, or buy bags of ice, for your fridge, freezer or esky to keep food cool and safe in case your power is cut.
“It’s a good idea to have on hand insect repellent and your cyclone kit should have a first-aid kit, including waterproof bandaids,” she said.
Anyone seeking further health advice during the cyclone event can contact 13HEALTH or visit the Queensland Health website: www.health.qld.gov.au.