Member for Caloundra and Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle has hit back at recent claims the Caloundra Hospital emergency department should be shut down in five years, and has renewed calls for the vital facility to stay open.
The State Government has confirmed it will close the Caloundra E.D when the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana opens, ignoring concerns from residents.
Despite Mr McArdle recently tabling in parliament a 4000 signature petition opposing the Government’s decision, one doctor reportedly* said closing it was “in the best interests of patient safety” and Caloundra Hospital “was not equipped to handle complex emergency cases”.
Mr McArdle said such comments were not based on the argument presented.
“Let me be very clear, I have always said right from the start that the Caloundra E.D needs to remain open when the SCUH opens, to act as a supporting base for the University Hospital to stabilise serious patients and treat categories four and five,” Mr McArdle said.
“Complex emergency cases would always go to the University Hospital.
“Ambulance ramping is out of control at Nambour Hospital, and if the Caloundra E.D shuts down, it won’t be able to relieve ramping that could occur at the new hospital.”
Mr McArdle said with an extra 50,000 residents moving to Caloundra in coming years it was crucial to have vital facilities on hand, such as the Caloundra E.D, to support the rapid population growth.
“If the State Government is spending $11.5 million on the Caloundra E.D over the next five years, then why bother closing it?”
Health Minister Geoff Wilson has shown time and time again how out of touch he is with the SCUH project and Caloundra Hospital, stating SCUH is just “five minutes” away from Caloundra**, and the SCUH would be built in the “Caloundra” electorate***, not Kawana as originally planned.
*Sunshine Coast Daily 15 December 2011
** Ministerial Statement, 7 November 2011
*** Statement made in State Parliament, 15 November 2011