Hercules take ill to Brisbane
THE evacuation of about 130 patients from Bundaberg Hospital continued yesterday with the arrival of two RAAF C-130 transport aircraft from Richmond air force base near Sydney.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the evacuation started with the transportation by air in the early hours of Tuesday morning of about 10 critically ill patients and newborns to Brisbane.
The first of two C-130 Hercules aircraft from Richmond had arrived at Bundaberg yesterday morning, Dr Young said.
About 41 patients were then transported back to Brisbane on the first flight, arriving about 11am at Brisbane Airport.
Brisbane metropolitan hospitals have mobilised teams to support the transfer of patients, who will be distributed across the metropolitan network and also to Nambour.
Patients from Bundaberg Hospital were expected to be transferred to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Princess Alexandra and Prince Charles.
A second RAAF C-130 was expected to arrive at Bundaberg late yesterday and was due to transport a further 41 patients to Brisbane on its return flight.
The evacuation was completed with a return flight of the first RAAF C-130, which picked up the remaining Bundaberg Hospital inpatients for transfer to Brisbane.
"Apart from the Bundaberg Hospital inpatients, around 60 dialysis patients from the Bundaberg region also are being transferred to Brisbane," Dr Young said.
"A Dash-8 aircraft has been organised to undertake this evacuation of dialysis patients, along with a number of pregnant women nearing term. Flight details are still being finalised."
Dr Young said the dialysis patients would be shared equally among Nambour, Royal Brisbane and Women's and the Princess Alexandra hospitals.
The Department of Health, Queensland Ambulance Service, Australian Defence Force, CareFlight and Royal Flying Doctor Service have all been all involved in the execution of the evacuation, which is being co-ordinated through the State Disaster Co-ordination Centre.
At this stage, Bundaberg Hospital remains open for emergency patients, but people were reminded not to present to the hospital unless it was genuinely an emergency.