ENDOSCOPY services will now be available at the Mareeba Hospital thanks to a $1 million upgrade courtesy of the Queensland Government.
Health Minister Steven Miles and Member for Cook Cynthia Lui inspected the upgraded theatre and the new dedicated area for recovery today.
“People from Mareeba and the surrounding area will soon have access to an upgraded operating theatre facility and, for the first time in a long time, endoscopy services,” Ms Lui said.
“The theatre will continue to also provide general surgery, dental surgery, and birthing services.
“It’s so important that we are delivering more and better services to all Queenslanders no matter where they live.”
Mr Miles said that following the $1 million upgrade, the theatre was expected to re-open in mind-November.
“Demand for endoscopy services is growing across the state and understandably residents in Mareeba don’t want to travel all the way to Cairns to get a diagnosis,” he said.
“This new endoscopy service will allow the hospital to diagnose gastrointestinal tract diseases such as cancers and abnormalities of the digestive tract and get on top of them quickly.”
Due to the National Bowel Cancer Screening expansion, the demand for endoscopy services is expected to continue to increase by 5.7 per cent per year over the next 10 years.
Mareeba Hospital Medical Superintendent Nikki Patching said by providing endoscopic services locally we will be able to treat more patients within clinically recommended timeframes and meet increasing future demand for endoscopic services.
“And endoscopy/colonoscopy allows doctors to see the lining of a patient’s oesophagus, stomach, or colon,” she said.
“If abnormal areas are seen, biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken for testing.”
Mareeba Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery and Facility Manager Kerry Grigg said they were in the process of booking patients who live near Mareeba for their endoscopy.
“This new service means we can provide safe and sustainable care closer to home for Mareeba residents,” she said.
“The new endoscopy service also aligns with the Health Service’s strategy to increase the self-sufficiency of Mareeba Hospital and deliver care closer to home where safe to do so.”
Ms Grigg and Dr Patching thanked the local community and hospital staff for their patience while the theatre was closed for this upgrade.
“We are also very grateful to the Atherton and Cairns hospital teams, who provided assistance while the theatre was closed,” she said.
Cairns and Hinterland Health Service Chief Executive Officer Clare Douglas said that the new endoscopy service aligns with the Health Service strategy to increase the self-sufficiency of major rural sites, such as Mareeba Hospital.