Cath lab opens

People in Cairns now have even more cardiac care services after a new theatre was opened today thanks to investment from the Palaszczuk Government and the community.
Health Minister Steven Miles, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt and Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman officially opened two new Cardiac Catheter Laboratories at the Cairns Hospital.

Mr Healy said the $2.8 million project, jointly funded by the State Government and the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, will allow more than 600 cardiac patients to be seen next year.

“The community’s $1.4 million in donations towards a second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory is a testament to the support and love the people of Far North Queensland have for the Cairns Hospital and, with the State Government’s matching commitment, has enabled us to grow local services much sooner,” Mr Healy said.

“This new facility expands the hospital’s capacity to treat cardiac patients closer to home. It will mean a lot more patients are seen quicker and, in lots of cases, will mean they can avoid travelling to Townsville or Brisbane for treatment.”

Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said new services weren’t just life changing for patients but also meant more health jobs in the region.

“This new facility has employed 25 staff and 3 apprentices during its construction and now additional health staff, including a dedicated nurse unit manager and a new specialist.

“This government understands that health services are central to our regions which is why we are investing in regional healthcare. Thanks to the new Cath Lab and new frontline staff, Cairns can now deliver electrophysiology – specialised treatment for heart rhythm problems.”

Mr Miles said one in three Queensland deaths are from cardiovascular disease and last year saw a 10 per cent increase in the number of patients arriving at Queensland hospitals with a cardiac condition.

“The Cairns Hospital Cardiac team has also recently started providing outreach services to patients across the Cairns and Hinterland and Torres and Cape HHS regions as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $12.4 million state-wide commitment over four years, a significant step in helping to close the gap in Indigenous health outcomes,” Mr Miles said.

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation Board chairman Dr Ken Chapman said funds raised through the recent Cardiac Challenge would further enhance services for patients in the region.

“This year, we are aiming to purchase equipment including a portable ultrasound for paediatric cardiology,” Dr Chapman said.

Director of Cardiology, Dr Greg Starmer said the Cardiac team had already been able to double the number of patients receiving implantable devices, with the addition of the electrophysiology specialist, Dr Kevin Ng to the team.

“With a second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory now open, we can now provide specialist diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms and prevent sudden death by implanting defibrillators, cardiac resynchronisation and ablation procedures,” he said.

“It also provides additional capacity for cardiac angiograms and angioplasties, including for acute heart attack patients.

“This new facility not only strengthens our ability to meet the needs of our patients by reducing travel and the length of hospital stays, it also enhances our research capacity and ability to attract and develop specialist clinicians, as we continue to work towards becoming a university hospital.”