Cairns Base storm plan 'inadequate'
THE draft evacuation plan for Cairns Base Hospital does not provide enough protection for staff and patients in the event of another natural disaster, the union of public sector workers says.
Sandy Donald, the Together Queensland representative for medical staff in Cairns, said there had been minimal consultation with medical staff and the community in the creation of the draft evacuation plan.
"Almost one year on from cyclone Yasi and well into the next cyclone season, we’re sending a very clear message that the draft evacuation plan is not adequate," Dr Donald said.
"Members who felt their physical and mental health was placed at unnecessary risk during Yasi are not convinced a future response would be better."
Last February, cyclone Yasi forced the city’s hospitals to close and more than 250 patients were evacuated by 13 aircraft to other hospitals.
A draft evacuation contingency plan released last month by Queensland Health has identified three hospital-style treatment centres for Cairns if a natural disaster forced the evacuation of the city’s base hospital. The Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE, James Cook University and Woree State High are listed as sites where temporary medical treatment centres can be set up in the event of a major disaster.
Dr Donald said the three evacuation sites do not appear to be suitable because they are described in the draft plan as "waiting on clarifications on cyclone rating of building".
"It is not clear that health services would be much improved, and available information does not clearly indicate members or patients will be safer in an alternative centre rather than remaining at Cairns Base Hospital," he said.
Cairns and Hinterland Health Service acting executive director of corporate services Scott Pickard said the Cairns Disaster Management Plan was currently being
He said Queensland Health did a letterbox drop to 50,000 households in Cairns and surrounding areas late last year about the plan.