What will come first - carrier pigeon or road upgrade?

EDITORIAL: Plymouth, in England's south-west, was the setting for an unusual public health sector experiment with carrier pigeons.

Birds were fitted with tiny leather harnesses that were designed to hold blood samples taken from the city's hospitals.

The pigeons then flew the samples between various hospitals in an attempt to speed up service and save taxpayer dollars being spent on medical transports.

This venture petered out in the early 1980s.

There is some suggestion the pigeons were used as far back as WWII when the city was a target for German bombers due to its large dockyard.

Road transport was problematic then as there were curfews and blackouts but the pigeons always got through.

Recent flooding has rammed home the message that travel by road on the Fraser Coast can also be problematic, particularly after heavy rain.

The pathology unit at Maryborough Hospital closed in December 2012 and all blood work was transferred to the facility at Hervey Bay Hospital.

What will come first? Pigeons being used to transport blood samples in an emergency between Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals, or an upgrade to the road that links them to make it flood-proof.

Better start researching how to build a pigeon coop.

There may even be the chance to sub-contract out a flock of carrier pigeons if the NBN broadband network continues to roll out in such glacial fashion.

Pigeons have a good track record as an alternative to the internet, according to a report by the BBC in 2009.

A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird fitted with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from South Africa's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the company's data 100 km.

In the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Not ideal, but it gives Labor a fallback position.

mat.nott@frasercoastchronicle.com.au



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