The Emergency Department at Cairns Base Hospital reopened for patients at midday today.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas said the Hospital would initially open in a limited capacity until staffing can return to normal.

Inpatient services are expected to fully resume by early next week.

“Queensland Health made the decision to close the Hospital as a precaution in preparation for Cyclone Yasi and to evacuate over 320 patients to hospitals in South East Queensland,” Mr Lucas said.

“This not only ensured the safety of these patients, but has allowed us to be ready to respond in the aftermath of the cyclone.

“Now that the cyclone has passed, the Emergency Department will begin taking patients.

“Staff remain ready to respond in any way necessary to ensure the healthcare needs of the Cairns community can continue to be met during this period,” he said.

Mr Lucas said there will be a staged re-opening of the hospital, starting with the Emergency Department, operating theatres and birthing.

Planning is still underway for the repatriation of patients who were evacuated to Brisbane.

“All efforts are being made to return Cairns Base Hospital to full capacity as soon as possible,” Mr Lucas said.

“We appreciate people’s patience and understanding while this occurs, and I also again want to thank our staff who have done a tremendous job in making services available throughout this event.

The Emergency Care Centre at Fretwell Park Sporting Complex has continued to operate throughout the day while the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department has been returning to normal operation.

However, the Emergency Care Centre at Fretwell Park Sporting Complex will now close at 4pm this afternoon.

“The efforts of our staff have ensured that wherever Cairns residents live they have continued to get the healthcare they need throughout this event,” he said.

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