Surge in patients putting Cairns Hospital under pressure

August 11, 2023 6:27 am in by

A surge in demand is putting pressure on the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department.

From Thursday, August 3 to Wednesday, August 9, a total of 1719 people have presented to the Cairns Hospital emergency department, with the highest day of presentations at 273 on Sunday, August 6.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Leena Singh says the hospital was experiencing high numbers of patients with viral infections such as influenza and also accident-related trauma requiring surgery.

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“We have had a constant stream of people arriving at the emergency department and presenting with injuries and illnesses, alongside a significant number of patients brought in via Queensland Ambulance Service,” Ms Singh says.

“Our triage system means that our patients are prioritised for care to ensure those with the highest need are seen first.”

Ms Singh stressed the importance of people facing serious illness or a life-threatening situation to continue to present to the emergency department.

“We would ask anyone with a non-urgent health issue, such as ear aches, sprains, and minor aches and pains to please reconsider attending our emergency departments,” she says.

“You won’t be turned away from an emergency department, but those in greater need of emergency treatment will always be prioritised, and people with less urgent need will face a lengthy wait.

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“It is still not too late to get a flu vaccination. We encourage everyone to continue to practice good hand hygiene and to wear a mask if you are feeling unwell to avoid transmitting the many viruses circulating at the moment.”

Residents can help by contacting GPs, pharmacies, telehealth and other primary health care providers for non-urgent health issues.


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