Dr Damian Byrnes, the KAP candidate for Mulgrave and former member of the Cairns Health Community Council, said his party would pay for the 22-bed hospital by diverting money from the "makeover" at Cairns Base Hospital. "We would like to start this immediately once the election is over," he said.
The current construction of Block D at Cairns Base Hospital, which is expected to create 168 new beds, would continue as planned under the proposal, Dr Byrnes said. With the support of his party leader Bob Katter, Dr Byrnes said a new hospital in the south was urgently needed because cyclone Yasi showed Cairns Base Hospital was vulnerable to severe weather events. "A fully operational hospital at Edmonton is a non-negotiable item of critical infrastructure, especially as the Cairns Base Hospital is directly in-line for catastrophic cyclonic storm surges," Dr Byrnes said.
Dr Byrnes showed a copy of the 3000 signatures his party had collected in support of the second hospital for Cairns. Mr Katter said one hospital was not enough for Cairns because it took residents in his electorate 40 minutes to drive to Cairns Base Hospital."Cairns is a very narrow strip; you really do need two hospitals," Mr Katter said.
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