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Cairns South Health Facility

Background

Early in 2011, Cairns Hospital, located near the coast, was evacuated as a precautionary safety measure in response to the approach of severe Cyclone Yasi. On February 3, Yasi crossed the coast as a category five near Mission Beach with wind gusts exceeding 280kph between the area of Cairns to Ingham.

Tropical Cyclone Yasi was the biggest storm in Queensland’s history with tens of thousands of people moved from their homes. Waves as high as 12 metres were predicted to hit the north Queensland coast as the storm surge caused by Cyclone Yasi combined with a high tide of up to seven metres.

Following the event, the then Premier and Minister for Reconstruction ordered a health review.

The outcome of this review was a commitment by the Government that an alternative site for the delivery of critical and emergency care during disaster events would be provided for the region.

Following this commitment, a facility in Cairns Southern Corridor was announced in the 2016/17 Queensland state budget as part of the $230 million Advancing Queensland’s Health Infrastructure Program.

Dual purpose building

The Cairns South Health Facility will be a unique health facility in Australia because of its dual-purpose capability.

The building will be able to withstand and function in a category five cyclone to provide interim emergency care if the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department is unable to function, as was the case when the hospital was evacuated in 2011. It also has an on-site helipad to enable the evacuation of any casualties.

The day to day use of the facility will provide community health services to Cairns South in conjunction with the Edmonton Community Health Centre.

The facility has been designed with flexibility to cater for a range of services and be adaptable to the changing needs of the health service. The focus of the building’s design has been to provide an interim emergency department however its day-to-day use as will be as a community health care centre.

This new dual-purpose facility will improve regional capability for the health service in times of disaster, to deliver interim emergency care, with the ability to evacuate casualties through an onsite helipad.

The Cairns South Health Facility will house a satellite dialysis service for renal patients and provide community health services.

Planning

The project team was established early in 2017 and includes health facility planners, architects and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service representatives.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with clinicians across the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service in 2018 including emergency medicine, maternity, renal medicine, children’s health, allied health, mental health, tobacco and other drug services. Their insights have helped the project team of engineers, architects and health planners to develop the designs.

Detailed designs

Cairns South Aerial View

Cairns South Aerial View

Cairns South Aerial View West

Cairns South Aerial View West

Cairns South Entry

Cairns South Entry

In April 2019, concept designs of the facility were completed in order to move towards the construction phase.

Above are artist’s impressions of what the facility will look like at its location on Walker Road in Edmonton.

The site has been selected because of its strategic location; outside of the one-in-100-year flood zone; it provides good access to the Bruce Highway; it is opposite a designated cyclone shelter in the Police Citizens Youth Club Edmonton; and it is central to the rapidly growing population of the southern Cairns area.

Construction

Construction is expected to begin on the Walker Road site in late 2019 and is expected to be completed late 2020.  The construction phase is being managed by Queensland Health’s Capital and Asset Services division.  Any possible disruptions to neighbours are expected to be minimal.

Community engagement

Community engagement will continue with adjoining neighbours and businesses in the local area. The focus is to ensure the local community is informed throughout the construction process.

For more information please contact the health service via email at chhhs-cairnssouth@health.qld.gov.au.

Last updated: 11 June 2019