CONSTRUCTION of the second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory at Cairns Hospital has started.
The $2.8M facility, jointly funded by the State Government and money raised by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, will allow an extra 577 cardiac patients to be seen each year.
Donors to the Foundation were joined by the Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, Health Service Deputy Board Chair, Luckbir Singh, Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe and Director of Cardiac Services, Dr Greg Starmer, as they were given a tour of the construction site.
Mr Healy said the project showed the government’s and community’s support for the hospital.
“The community’s $1.4M in donations to the second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory for Cairns Hospital is a credit to the people of Cairns and Far North Queensland,” Mr Healy said.
“Combined with the State Government’s matching $1.4M investment, we’re now starting to see the fruits of our labour.
“The new laboratory will expand the hospital’s capacity to treat cardiac patients closer to home, employ more staff and provide new services for the region.”
Ms Duncombe said the community’s generosity and the Foundation’s advocacy was a tremendous benefit for the Health Service.
“We had $423,000 in donations towards the Cath Lab in a short space of time, with some donations in excess of $100,000. The community really got behind this project,” Ms Duncombe said.
“Combined with funds from Cardiac Challenge, Car for Cardiac, Christmas Wrap and The Power of Pallets, it shows how serious, and how committed the community of Cairns and Far North Queensland is to having top quality medical services at Cairns Hospital.”
Dr Greg Starmer said the Cardiac Unit had an exciting year ahead.
“When the second Cath Lab is finished, we will be able expand our capacity to offer specialist diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms and prevent sudden death by implanting defibrillators, cardiac resynchronisation and ablation procedures,” Dr Starmer said.
“It will also provide additional capacity for cardiac angiograms and angioplasties, including for acute heart attack patients.
“We now have an electrophysiologist working full time, and this year we will be starting new research in conjunction with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, complementing the 12 multinational research programs the unit is currently involved in.”
The Cardiac Catheter Laboratory is expected to be completed mid-2019.

Photos: Pete McNally, Judi Phillips and Trish Sexton check out the construction site that will be the second cardiac catheter lab in a few months.

Cairns Hospital cardiology director Dr Greg Starmer, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe, Cairns Hospital chief executive Clare Douglas and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service board deputy chairman Luckbir Singh.