New Qld day hospital to cut waiting times
THE first multi-speciality day hospital to open in Cairns in more than 20 years is set to drastically improve the Far North's surgical waiting times.
The Far North Day Hospital is expected officially open today in the same building as the Cairns Fertility Centre, opposite Cairns Central.
The $5 million facility, which was taken over by FNDH Pty Ltd last year, includes two day-hospital operating theatres, with a third planned for later this year.
It offers urology, gynaecology, dental, plastic and cosmetic surgical services, with endoscopy and enteroscopy also slated during 2019.
Hospital chief executive Elizabeth Rankin said the company had been working with Queensland Health's Surgery Connect program to help reduce the public surgery waiting list.
"It's going to provide greater access for patients and reduce the list, because there will be more theatres available to actually do the surgery," she said.
"Being a dedicated day surgery, we're able to look after people in a very personalised way, rather than waiting for the larger hospital.
"We're working with Surgery Connect to look at other areas we can assist them in, and that's an exciting thing for the region to have more surgeons available."
The hospital has so far treated more than 500 patients since it started operating in July, but is expected to treat up to 8000 patients a year once all its services come online.
It will complement Cairns Day Surgery, operated by Ramsay Health Care, which opened in 1996.
Ms Rankin said the Far North Day Hospital would offer more choice for patients.
"Since we started, we've been continuing to add more (surgical) specialities and more equipment," she said.
"We're also increasing our technology as well to open up the availability of medical services to the region."
Figures from Queensland Health showed that, while most patients awaiting elective surgery through the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service were being seen within clinically recommended times, improvements for specialist surgery such as urology were still needed.
WHAT IS SURGERY CONNECT?
The Surgery Connect program, initiated by the Queensland Health, co-ordinates and contracts with the private sector to deliver elective surgical services for patients where there is insufficient capacity to provide treatment within clinically recommended time frames within Queensland public hospitals.
In 2012-13 alone, the program supported more than 3800 procedures.
According to the latest Queensland Health figures, there were 882 patients treated statewide through the program from July-September last year.