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Community & Business

30 June, 2023

Hospital maintenance called into question

AN overgrown gutter at the Mareeba Hospital has sparked a local health advocate to ask what else isn’t being maintained.


A photo of the grass and sapling that was recently removed from the gutters of the Mareeba Hospital.
A photo of the grass and sapling that was recently removed from the gutters of the Mareeba Hospital.

Save Mareeba Hospital Action Group member Denis McKinley attended the hospital a few weeks ago and spotted a large clump of grass growing in a gutter and a downpipe along with a small tree sapling that had taken hold.

He brought the growth to the attention of the Cairns and Hinterlands Hospital and Health Service but for weeks, he received no response.

Only after he mentioned going to the media was Denis contacted and the growth removed within a few days.

A contractor is engaged to professionally clean the gutters every year, along with an external wash of the hospital and a maintenance officer also carries out regular works around the hospital on a weekly basis, however, the gutter remained uncleaned long enough for a sapling to take hold and begin to grow.

Mr McKinley said the gutters had to have been ignored for a long period of time for the grass and sapling to grow as much as they did.

“It was right in the downpipe and a foot high this stuff, it hasn’t been there for five minutes,” he said.

“It makes me think they are all walking around with their eyes on the ground, not focused – this is a public asset, next thing the gutters will be rotted out.”

Mareeba Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Jennifer Fitzsimons said due to the “fast-growing climate” of the Tablelands, sometimes areas were missed.

“As we continue to provide the best possible care for the community, we also manage the maintenance of our buildings and surrounds,” she said.

“From time to time, areas are missed, especially with the fast-growing climate that exists in the Tablelands.”

Mr McKinley said if general maintenance tasks were not being carried out properly, what else inside the hospital was not being looked after.

“These things happen on the outside and it could be an indication of what is not happening on the inside,” he said.

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