Private hospital to help public system cope with virus

CAIRNS Private Hospital has offered to take surgeries away from Cairns Hospital to ease the burden on the public system from the coronavirus epidemic.

The private hospital is on standby to add capacity to cater for Covid-19 patients, should the need emerge in the Far North.

As of yesterday, there were no cases of coronavirus in the region, however the first case of the fast-spreading respiratory infection was reported in Townsville.

Ramsay Cairns chief executive Ben Tooth said the private hospital was willing to perform a range of orthopaedic, ENT, ophthalmology, gynaecology, general surgery, plastics and urology cases to lighten the load on the public hospital.

"While we face the unknown in terms of the extent of the impact of Covid-19 in the Far North, it's vital that health providers work together to deliver the best care and treatment to people within our community," he said.

"As the public hospital readies itself for an influx of confirmed coronavirus cases, Cairns Private Hospital is willing and able to help reduce the region's public elective surgery lists to prevent a backlog of cases down the track."

Mr Tooth said Cairns Private Hospital was well-prepared to manage the impacts of the disease.

Chief Executive Officer of Cairns Private Hospital, Ben Tooth PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Chief Executive Officer of Cairns Private Hospital, Ben Tooth PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

He said this included the creation of a Covid-19 response team to keep up-to-date with the evolution of the outbreak.

"All Ramsay Health Care facilities have strict infection control and prevention protocols along with well-established systems and staff to protect healthcare workers, patients and visitors," he said.

"These measures are enabling Cairns Private Hospital to continue to provide world-class care and treatment."

Queensland Health officials yesterday confirmed there had been 15 new cases of Covid-19 in Queensland, taking the state total to 61. Most of the cases have been confirmed in the state's southeast.

"Queensland Health can confirm all cases remain isolated in appropriate accommodation to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and all patients are currently stable," a departmental spokeswoman said.

"Contact tracing is still underway for these new cases.

"Public health units have been able to confirm the majority have travelled overseas or have had exposure to a confirmed case. Queensland Health will notify if any other public health alerts are required."