This just in!
The Mareeba Hospital will begin the upgrade to their operating theatre as early as July and re-open with a new endoscopy service for the Tablelands.
While the upgrade happens, the operating theatre will only be available for obstetric and maternity emergency services.
Dr Nikki Patching, Mareeba Hospital Medical Superintendent said the new endoscopy service will allow the Hospital to test residents for gastrointestinal tract diseases such as cancers and tumours.
“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,” said Dr Patching.
“An endoscopy allows doctors to see the lining of a patient’s oesophagus, stomach, or colon. If abnormal areas are seen, biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken for testing” Dr Patching explained.
Mareeba Director of Nursing and Midwifery/Facility Manager Vickye Coffey said that 30 per cent of referrals for endoscopies to Atherton Hospital were for patients who lived closer to Mareeba Hospital.
“This new service means we can provide safe and sustainable care closer to home for Mareeba residents,” said Ms Coffey. “We anticipate that surgery will be closed for about 12 weeks from July,” said Ms Coffey.
“Once we know exact dates we will let residents know.”
Non-essential surgery will be referred to Atherton Hospital or Cairns Hospital or postponed.
Patients who are booked in for surgery from July will be contacted by the Mareeba Hospital to discuss alternative arrangements.
Pregnant mothers will be able to discuss their options with their Mareeba Hospital midwives.