Director of nursing and midwifery services Graham Mahaffey, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington and director of medical services Greg Coffey at a media conference about the Hervey Bay ICU.
Director of nursing and midwifery services Graham Mahaffey, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington and director of medical services Greg Coffey at a media conference about the Hervey Bay ICU. Alistair Brightman

Hervey Bay ICU will have three permanent specialists

UPDATE: Two new permanent, full-time intensive care specialists are to be appointed to the Hervey Bay Hospital intensive care unit.

The appointments will create a team of three intensive care specialists to ensure expert care will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the critically ill on the Fraser Coast.

A review of the ICU led by senior clinicians presented Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service executives with a number of models for maintaining a high-quality, level four ICU.

WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington said the strengthened intensivist-led model of care best met the region's needs.

"This morning I have met with senior clinicians and managers to discuss the options in depth and have agreed a way forward," he said.

"The decision I have made will include the appointment of two additional intensive care specialists to support Dr Edda Jessen-Haberman in developing a level-four closed unit.

"Twelve months ago, the ICU in Hervey Bay was an open unit.

"The difference between the two models related to which member of the clinical staff manages the patient within the department.

"In my opinion, a specialist-led model of clinical care is always preferred to an open model which is why we brought Dr Jessen-Haberman to the organisation 12 months ago.

Mr Pennington said the decision on the ICU model of care meant the WBHHS could now seek accreditation for the Hervey Bay ICU to become a nurse training centre.

"When I met with staff prior to requesting the senior clinician review of ICU, nursing staff within the department suggested that the development of specialist ICU nurse training in Hervey Bay would save considerable time and expense of their part travelling to Brisbane to obtain training," he said.

"If we are successful in this venture, ICU staff across Wide Bay and further afield will be able to come Hervey Bay for their professional development."

The review analysed the staffing levels, the blend of skills and how well the ICU integrated with other services in the hospital and with services in tertiary hospitals.

EARLIER UPDATE: The outcome of a review into the Hervey Bay Intensive Care Unit will be announced at a media conference just before lunch on Wednesday.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said chief executive Adrian Pennington would also make an announcement about training and development.

EARLIER UPDATE: Medical staff braved a drizzly morning outside the Hervey Bay Hospital to protest against the region's health cuts.

A small group of doctors, nurses and public supporters gathered to send a message to the State Government that the Fraser Coast deserved the same level of public health care Brisbane residents received.

Queensland Nurses Union assistant secretary Des Elder said Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington would meet with medical staff on Wednesday to discuss the ICU rating. 

EARLIER: The Queensland Nurses' Union will hold a breakfast rally at the Hervey Bay Hospital on Wednesday morning to protest the removal health care services from the Wide Bay region.

The rally will run from 7am to 9am at the hospital's Nissen St entrance and a petition will also be delivered to the offices of Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen and Maryborough MP Anne Maddern.



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