Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Medical Bus Sets Sights On Open Road

A medical bus that will ensure the safe transport of patients from the Whitsundays to Mackay for hospital appointments is one step closer to operating the service following a successful volunteer driver course.

This represents one of the last hurdles to overcome getting the bus on the road.

A total of six volunteer drivers were given a driver safety presentation and first aid course at the Proserpine Community Centre last week.

The new bus will be based in Cannonvale and will operate three days a week, transporting up to eight patients to and from Mackay from late June.

Main pick-up points include Whitsunday Community Health, Proserpine Hospital and Bloomsbury.

Mayor Julie Hall said that she is thrilled to see the service so close to operating.

“The Whitsunday Community Medical Bus Service will bridge the gap in healthcare accessibility, providing a lifeline for those who may face challenges in reaching medical facilities,” she said.

“This project represents a collaborative effort to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to receiving the medical care they require.

“No one should have to choose between their health and their ability to access medical care.”

She thanked Kristi Algate and the rest of the team at Mackay Hospital Foundation for all their help, as well as Member for Whitsunday, Amanda Camm for her advocacy.

Mayor Hall added that she is very aware that there is a massive need for a similar service to operate and service Bowen and Collinsville.

“Our Economic Development team are working to explore potential funding opportunities for a community minibus for Bowen and Collinsville and surrounds to transport patients to Townsville for regular medical appointments,” she said.

“Access to this service for regional communities is so important, but it will be no quick fix as there are multiple funding, legal and operational logistics to be negotiated.”

Mayor Hall says she welcomes the announcement that a private operator has started up a regular daily service between Bowen and Mackay return as an option for medical patients.

"Mackay Whitsunday Buses will provide a transport option for Bowen patients needing treatments in Mackay which is great,” Mayor Hall said.

“However there remains a need for Bowen/Collinsville Patient transport Service as the new option would only be suitable for reasonably active patients and does not cater for those patients with appointments in Townsville.”

"The service also does not solve the issue of those with serious medical needs or patients with mobility issues and needing medical support during the journey.”

Volunteers doing drivers safety and first aid training

Mayor Hall with Mackay Hospital Foundation General Manager Kristi Algate

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