The Cairns Post can exclusively reveal the hospital will open a dedicated waiting and treatment room by the end of the month to treat ill children from 10am until 10pm seven days a week.
Cairns Hospital emergency department deputy director Dr Rob Bonnin said there were 992 paediatric presentations last month and 1075 in August, about 20 per cent of emergency department presentations.
“The paediatric fast-track model at Cairns Hospital’s emergency department will provide a dedicated treatment option to care for youngsters with less serious medical conditions,’’ Dr Bonnin said.
“When a paediatric patient arrives at the emergency department they will be triaged by a nurse who will determine if they are suitable for the fast-track model.”
Conditions to be covered by the model include dressings for wounds, mild gastroenteritis and minor limb injuries.
“Each consultation will be for a maximum of 20 minutes and if X-rays or blood tests are required they will be performed and the patient will return to the waiting room while results are prepared,” Dr Bonnin said.
“It is anticipated that the vast majority of the patients who go through this model will be able to return home after the consultation with our doctors.”
This is in a raft of initiatives aimed at easing the workload at the emergency department and stopping ambulances ramping at the hospital.
It was outlined to Health Minister Cameron Dick, senior doctors and union officials at the ministerial roundtable on September 29.
“This reduces the need for patients with less serious conditions to be brought into the department for care, which means those beds are being taken up by patients with more serious conditions and are more likely to require admission to hospital,” Dr Bonnin said.
“A dedicated waiting room for these patients is being constructed to provide a more appropriate place for these patients to wait.”