Caloundra Emergency Department Closure

Urgent Care Centre Petition to be lodge with 3,500 signatures

3 August 2017

A community-lead petition to establish the Caloundra Urgent Care Centre 24 hours a day, has today come to a close with more than 3,500 signatures in support of a medical facility that provides fulltime care.  State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle officially accepted the petition from Principal Petitioner Rob Corbett and will lodge it in Parliament next week. 

Mr McArdle said that there are a number of reasons why the community feels so strongly about Caloundra having access to a local, 24-hour Urgent Care Centre but overwhelmingly Caloundra wants a health service available which meets its needs now and into the future. 

“This year the Sunshine Coast University Hospital opened and it became our primary health care facility dealing with the ill or injured, but we need to be smarter in how we treat patients across the Coast.” Mr McArdle said.  

“The Aura Development means an additional 1,800 people per year moving into the area and that is on top of the thousands of residents that will call Palmview home. Of course not all pf these people will use Caloundra Hospital but they will put pressure on our health services.” Mr McArdle said  

Mr Corbett said that during the past two months of petitioning, “It was very clear that the operating hours of the Urgent Care Centre is something that plays on the mind of many Caloundra Residents.”  

“The uptake of the petition has been strong, though not surprising as this is something that impacts Caloundra residents’ health and wellbeing, regardless of age or personal circumstances.” Mr Corbett said

“People want to know that they have accessible health care options at any hour of the day. The community wants to do the right thing. SCUH will deal with the urgent ED cases but there is no reason non-life threating cases can’t be dealt with at Caloundra – yet the 9am – 9pm hours are ridiculous.” Mr Corbett said.  

“The Health Minister at Estimates confirmed that ‘---our emergency departments remain under pressure because of growth in demand---’ particularly with regards to the most ill and injured.” Mr McArdle stated. 

“He continues, ‘---last financial year the number of people presenting with category 1 conditions—they are people who are critically ill—increased by 10.4 per cent across Queensland, and category 2 patients, who are generally very seriously ill, increased by 7.1 per cent.” 

“The Minister is correct. The resources and skill levels required are extremely high when patients are classed as either Category 1 or Category 2. That is why the Caloundra Urgent Care Clinic being open 24/7 is critical for Caloundra and regional residents.” Mr McArdle said. 

“Caloundra Urgent Care Centre should also be utilised in a way that compliments SCUH and takes pressure off its Emergency Department. By having a 24 hour Urgent Care facility available we can treat less serious cases, day and night, and the SCUH ED can focus on Category 1 and 2 patients and deal with walk-ins.” Mr McArdle said. 

“The petition will now be considered by Health Minister Cameron Dick.” Mr McArdle concluded.  
 

 
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Senior Medical Officers Jumping Ship from Caloundra Medical Centre

2 May 2017

State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle today questioned why two highly-experienced Senior Medical Officers have left or will be leaving their positions at the “Minor Injury and Illness Centre” less than two months after the facility’s opening at Caloundra Hospital. 

It comes as the Caloundra Emergency Department closed its door in March and was replaced by a 12 hour facility that has been rebranded as a “Minor Injury and Illness Centre.”

Mr McArdle said that less than 6 months ago the Government advertised that the E.D. would be replaced by an “Urgent Care Centre” but has since downplayed the facilty’s role and he suspects that as a consequence two medical officers have made the decision to leave. 

“When the position for Director of the Centre was advertised it was to lead the “Delivery and provision of urgent care services to patients ----“. In November last year we were told the facaility would be an “Urgent Care Centre” but this Labor Government has dumbed it down to the point that just two months of its opening two Senior Medical Officers have either left or are leaving.” Mr McArdle said.

“The Government would have us believe that the Centre only deals with minor illnesses but on day one of its functioning a three year old girl who was a Category 1 patient (the most seriously ill or injured) was brought in to the hospital by family members. Luckily there were qualified staff there to look after the child and transport her to Kawana.” Mr McArdle said. 

Stockland’s new development, Aura sold 800 blocks of land last year with an anticipate 400 sales annually thereafter. Mr McArdle points out that the population increase per annum in Aura alone will be 1200 people and in five years’ time that amounts to more than 6000 addtional residents.

“This idea of dumbing the title is dangerous but not nearly as dangerous as the reduction of qualified staff to treat those in Caloundra. We have a growing population base and poor planning has to two Senior Medical Officers leaving the service while the pressure for greater provision of services will only grow.” Mr McArdle said.  

“If we can’t retain qualified staff for two months because of the dumbing down of the hospital by this Government what will it be like in five years’ time? With at least an additionally 6000 people living some 25 – 30 mins away from Caloundra Hospital and longer from Kawana Hospital. Add to that other growth areas and the reality becomes frightening.” Mr McArdle said. 

“This Government needs to wake up to itself and stop neglecting the care of local residents. I am calling on it to provide an Urgent Care Centre on a 24 hours 7 day a week basis.” Mr McArdle concluded.  

 

E.D. closure ad fails to reassure Caloundra

17 March 2017

State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has criticised a “poorly executed” advertisement by the Queensland Government which only details medical services that will no longer be available at Caloundra Hospital after 28 March.  

It comes as a recent ad placed in the Caloundra Weekly confirms the closure date of the Caloundra Emergency Department and lists what services will be relocated to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. 

“There is not a scrap of information in this advertisement about what services will be available in Caloundra after the E.D. closes its doors.” Mr McArdle said. 

“There is no phone number, no website and no direction for the reader to gain more information. Not even a statement that next week’s publication will provide details of services remaining at Caloundra Hospital or hours these services will be provided.” Mr McArdle said. 

Mr. McArdle pointed out that the ad missed an important opportunity to address growing community concerns over what urgent care treatments while be available in the area after hours. 

“This is exactly the kind of singular messaging that creates fear in a community that is already confused about what remaining services will be available to them and at what time of the day here in Caloundra.” Mr McArdle said.   

“You could forgive someone for feeling panicked when they look at the red “X” over the Caloundra ED in this ad and think that it is saying ‘there is nothing here for you if you get sick” Mr McArdle concluded.
 

Queensland Government labels “Broken Bones” as “Minor Injury” 

13 March 2017

State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle today labelled a claim by the Queensland Government that ‘Broken Bones’ are a ‘Minor Injury’ as extremely worrying.

“In a booklet listing changes to the Caloundra Hospital – which includes closing the Emergency Department and putting a 12 hours Urgent Care Centre in its place – the Government has stated that broken bones are only a minor complaint.” Mr McArdle said. 

“So if your son, daughter, grandchild, partner or spouse have a broken arm, leg or rib don’t worry because it is only a minor problem. You can see your GP, attempt to locate ‘a provider open near you’ or, if all else fails go to Caloundra Hospital.”

“The catch is if it happens after 9pm your GP might not be open – surprise, surprise. An afterhours ‘provider’ may take time to track down and if you can locate one you will then have to wait until they arrive. You certainly will not be attending the Urgent Care Centre at Caloundra because it will be closed.”

“But don’t worry is it only a ‘minor injury’”. Mr McArdle said.    

“This is a worrying statement to put in the booklet and the symbol used to describe it is of a bone completely severed in two.” 

“There is no reason that this service (Urgent Care Centre) cannot operate 24hours, 7 days per week. The new Kawana Hospital will treat the most serious cases, but otherwise to ask people to self-diagnosis and make a personal call is not on.” Mr McArdle said.

“A service such as an Urgent Care Centre is not just for today it is for the tens-of-thousands who will make the best part of the Sunshine Coast their home in the future.”

“People have had enough of solutions that actually deliver more problems and this short-sighted approach falls into that category we need the Urgent Care Centre to be open 24 hours per day.” Mr McArdle concluded. 


Caloundra Emergency Department closure.  What is to replace it? 

9 March 2017

We are nearing a critical time for health care here on the Sunshine Coast. On one hand, in a few months the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital will open and its emergency department will be the premier facility dealing with our most critically injured or sick residents.

 However, we are losing the Caloundra Emergency Department. In its wake the government plans to establish what is called an “Urgent Care Centre.” An ad last year specified that it will provide “urgent care services to patients” and manage “complex clinical situations that self-represent to the centre.” But this Urgent Care Centre is only to be open twelve hours per day, 9am to 9pm or 10am to 10pm, and not function as a 24 hour Urgent Care Centre.  So Queensland Health believes we have urgent patients for only twelve hours per day?

How will patients cope outside of these operating hours? It seems we are taking two steps forward and one step back, and this is not good enough for Caloundra.

Although critical cases will be transported by paramedics to the new Kawana Hospital for treatment – a parent with a sick child or grandchild or partner who goes to Caloundra Hospital late at night or early in the morning will find the doors firmly locked.  When Kawana opens there will be virtually no doctors or nurses on duty at night or early in the morning at Caloundra Hospital.

It is hard to believe that Caloundra Hospital will only be open during the day so don’t get sick at night.  Queensland Health may have an on/off switch to deliver critical health care but surprisingly people get sick or injured all hours of the day and night.
It is clear that Caloundra Hospital is already stretched. Queensland Health data shows us the severity of the ongoing ramping at Caloundra E.D. where patients have to wait on stretchers outside before they are admitted.  In November 2016 approximately 25 per cent of patients were ramped longer than 30 minutes and in December 2016 approximately 20 per cent were ramped longer than 30 minutes.

Where do we go from here? 

With the support of this community I am prepared to fight for a 24 hour Urgent Care Centre to exist at Caloundra Hospital, for which there is already a clear need, let alone for the future with thousands of people pouring into the area. 

I encourage anyone who is concerned to attend the Caloundra Electorate Office at 1A 20/Ormuz Ave. to add their name to our growing petition.  


Caloundra E.D. Upgrade $11.5M Five Years Ago - Wasted

20 February 2017

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State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle slammed the Palaszczuk Government in State Parliament for wasting $11.5m of taxpayers’ money by shutting down the Caloundra ED and replacing it with a part-time facility.

“Just five years ago the Bligh Labor government spent $11.5m in upgrading the Caloundra ED by putting in ten additional treatment spaces,” Mark McArdle said.

“Obviously the need, the population and growth were there but suddenly no fulltime facility is required despite that population growth and with that increasing need.

“Yet this lazy do nothing Labor government is wasting $11.5 million which equates to a waste of $2.3m per year since it was upgraded.”

Mr McArdle blasted the State Government’s handling of the issue, declaring in State Parliament on the 16th February Cameron Dick was nothing but a “hack of a health Minister” and the Caloundra community would not stand for it. 

“Picture it: you arrive at 9.55pm with a sick grandchild or partner with chest pains. That’s okay but 10 minutes later you will find the doors firmly locked behind you. 

“What Labor is saying to Caloundra residents is you need an on/off switch.

“The Urgent Care Centre will only operate 12 hours per day, so you can’t allow yourself, partner, children or grandchildren to be ill or injured at night.

“Labor is repeating its history – it delayed construction of the Kawana Hospital and now it is stopping fulltime treatment at Caloundra Hospital,” Mr McArdle continued. 

“This facility which is only five years old will be placed in liquidation and not even be replaced by a fulltime Urgent Care Centre.

“You have to wonder what will be gutted from the facility and perhaps we should pass the cap around to buy a first aid kit.

“Caloundra deserves better than this and I ask all residents to sign the petition at my office to get a 24/7 Centre,” concluded Mr McArdle. 

The petition can be signed at the Caloundra Electorate Office, 1A, 20 Ormuz Ave, Caloundra. 


Caloundra Prepared to Fight for 24 Hour "Urgent Care Centre"

6 February 2017

With community support, Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle will fight for a 24 hour “Urgent Care Centre” at Caloundra Hospital for which there is a clear, present need let alone for the future with thousands of people pouring into the area. 

The Urgent Care Centre will provide “urgent care services to patients” and manage “complex critical situations that self-present at the Centre” 

It comes as Mr McArdle last week criticized the State Government over a serious lack in foresight ahead of Caloundra’s Emergency Department closing with only a 12 hour Urgent Care Unit planned to replace it.

“In November 2016 approximately 25 per cent of patients were ramped longer than 30 minutes and in December 2016 approximately 20 per cent were ramped. 

“It is clear that Caloundra Hospital is already stretched and yet this community is only at the frontier of what it will grow to.” Mr McArdle said. 

“Why then would the government take the risk of leaving us with a significantly scaled-back 12 hour facility?” Mr McArdle said.  

“By March/April 2017 critical cases will be transported by ambulance to the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital for treatment but it is the instances late at night – a parent with a sick child or grandchild or partner – that are of real concern.” Mr McArdle said. 

“It means you can be ill or injured during the day but you had better not at night.   

“At night our community will no longer have someone close by to care for them and that may mean they are driving themselves up to 25 minutes away to Kawana. A few minutes can make all the difference.” Mr McArdle said. 

Concerned residents are encouraged to attend the Caloundra Electorate Office at 1A 20/Ormuz Ave. to add their name to the growing petition.  

“Together Caloundra needs to tell the Government that the current solution is not good enough for us.” Mr McArdle said. 


Caloundra E.D. closure leaves gap in its wake

31 January 2017

Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has slammed the State Government over a major gap in emergency care services soon to be available in Caloundra. 

It comes as Caloundra’s Emergency Department is set to close its doors ahead of an E.D. facility opening within the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital in April 2017. 

Mr. McArdle said that what is to replace the region’s current E.D. is not good enough for Caloundra.

“The new Kawana Hospital will deal with the most urgent cases and paramedics will take people directly there for treatment. It will be the premier hospital for such care.

But what happens to those who are not so seriously ill or injured. The proposed role the Caloundra Emergency Department will have in the core of these patients is not enough and Caloundra deserves better,’” Mr McArdle said. 

“The government’s plan is to establish what is called an ‘Urgent Care Centre’ and an ad last year specified that it will provide ‘urgent care services to patients’ and manage ‘complex clinical situations that self-represent to the centre.’”

“Encouraging words; a promise of treatment for anyone attending at Caloundra and if required, be transported to Kawana by ambulance.” Mr McArdle said. 

The Urgent Care Centre is expected to have opening hours between 9am to 9pm or 10am to 10pm, rather than function as a 24 hour care facility. 

Mr. McArdle has questioned how patients will cope outside of these operating hours. 

“The change in services that will be delivered at Caloundra Hospital means that when Kawana opens there will virtually be no doctors or nurses on duty at night or early in the morning. 

“I have been working on this for a number of years and every time I try to get an answer as to what happens to a person if they turn up at 11pm or a parent or grandparents arrive with their child or grandchild; what can they expect by way of treatment. They will get nothing – no help, no assistance and no cure.” Mr McArdle said.  

“I’ll tell you now, it will take a tourist or a resident to arrive and by not getting care a tragedy will happen to show the folly of this decision.    

“We know this area is growing, we know we will grow as time goes by.

“Caloundra Hospital has provided effective treatment for people for years and though I understand the Kawana Emergency Department being the premier department it is nonsense not to provide protection for people in this region in the event they need to attend the hospital.   

“We know where Caloundra hospital is and the Government needs to provide effective service on a 24 hour basis.” Concluded Mr McArdle. 

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