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Aurukun and Coen situation

9 January 2020

The following statement may be attributed to Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Ms Bev Hamerton.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service nursing staff who visited a displaced persons’ camp near Aurukun yesterday (Wednesday) to assess the situation there, found residents to be in generally good health.

While there, our staff treated a number of people for a variety of minor ailments but found no major cases of illness or injury.

The most serious case was a man who needed to have his broken hand replastered.

We will continue to work with other government and non-government agencies to help manage the situation at Aurukun and deliver healthcare services as required.

We are also working with multiple government and non-government agencies to manage a growing situation at Coen, where a number of displaced people from Aurukun have gathered.

We understand between 160–180 former Aurukun residents have gathered there, placing increased pressure on local residents and resources and posing the risk of severe overcrowding.

Additional displaced people from Aurukun are expected to further swell those numbers in the coming days as the existing displaced persons’ camp at Aurukun gradually empties.

We are continuing to deliver health services as normal to whomever requires them from our primary healthcare centre at Coen.

So far, we have seen no evidence of any significantly increased numbers of presentations to the Coen clinic.

However, as a precaution, we have sent an additional senior clinical nurse to Coen to support our clinic staff there and have ensured the clinic is adequately stocked with medications and clinical supplies.

We are working closely with other health service providers, including Apunipima Cape York Health Council and the Royal Flying Doctor Service to coordinate our healthcare delivery activities at Coen.

We are also working closely with police to ensure the continuing safety of our staff at both Aurukun and Coen.

Last updated: 15 January 2020