18 August 2016

Glen Elmes MP, Member for Noosa
Cr Ingrid Jackson, Noosa Shire Council

Translink hospital talks held at Parliament House

State Member for Noosa Glen Elmes MP and Noosa Councillor Ingrid Jackson met with Minister for Transport representatives and TransLink senior executives to highlight the unique needs of Noosa residents, who will face a two hour bus journey to get to the new Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital, if something is not done to improve access.

“I have been concerned for some time as to how Noosa patients and their families will access the new $1.8 million state of the art hospital in Birtinya, as many will be left to rely on public transport.

“Currently there is a review into the provision of public transport services to the new hospital however this review does not extend to Noosa.

“This meeting called for the needs of Noosa to be included in the strategic planning of hospital transport and was both timely and well received. It is part of Cr Jackson’s and my campaign to ensure our residents have quick and reliable access to the hospital.
“The reality is that, while the Noosa Hospital, whose future has been guaranteed by the LNP, will continue well into the future, the public patient services provided by the new super hospital for cancer, renal and mental health treatment centres and specialist surgical services - including cardiac and neurosurgery - are in a different league, and should be easily accessible even if you do not live in Maroochydore or Caloundra,” said Mr Elmes.

Cr Jackson highlighted that the delivery of health care services right across the Sunshine Coast will be subject to a number of significant changes as part of the hospital’s opening, and will affect a number of patient groups.

“Maternity services (with the exception of midwifery) and acute care services will relocate from Nambour to the new hospital in Birtinya, which will have a significant impact on young mums, their new babies and their families.

 “Vulnerable members of our community such as the elderly, may find themselves in a position where neither they nor their partners are able to drive to and from the hospital, placing pressure on extended family and friends and making an already stressful situation worse.

“Many people will need to catch a bus to get there at an already stressful time. Noosa is nearly 50 km from Birtinya by car and using the existing bus network will mean a lengthy and complicated two hour trip taking a bus from Noosa to Maroochydore Bus Station and then a different bus to the hospital. This will be onerous for patients and their families, “ Cr Jackson warned.

“Engaging both Translink and Queensland Health will be pivotal to the development of a solution, and while an express service from Noosa to the hospital would be ideal, it is apparent cost will be of concern.

“To that end I will request a meeting with the CEO of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, Mr Kevin Hegarty, as the next step in Cr Jackson’s and my campaign to ensure residents in the Noosa Shire and the Noosa Electorate will have an efficient and acceptable level of access to the new hospital when it opens in April 2017” said Mr Elmes.