Precautions Taken Following Alleged Fungal Infection Outbreak at Chermside Hospital

The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside warned immunosuppressed patients to wear masks when visiting for appointments and passing near construction occurring for a new hospital car park last week, as authorities investigate occurences of fungal infections that have been linked to two recent patient deaths.

Read: Protected Bushland in Chermside Bulldozed for Prince Charles Hospital Car Park Construction

Dr Muhammad Hussain, a 55-year-old doctor from Mango Hill, was the first fatality potentially connected to a fungal infection cluster at the hospital. He and recent heart transplant patient Adam Retmock, 45, both suffered from fungal infections prior to their deaths.

Photo credit: Chani/Google Maps 

Earlier this year, four other post-heart transplant patients allegedly contracted fungal infections, with another developing a lomentospora infection. Three aspergillus fungus types and a bacterial strain were reportedly detected in the outbreak patients. 

According to one St Vincent’s Private clinician, who asked not to be named, oncologists and haematologists at the hospital have advised at-risk patients to wear masks when on facility grounds or near ongoing construction activity.

Photo credit: Chani/Google Maps

The same clinician also said there is widespread belief among infectious disease and transplant specialists that the parking site excavation work has a high likelihood of being the underlying cause of the recent fungal infection outbreak.

Infectious disease experts advised the mask guidance amidst concerns the construction may be stirring up fungal spores. However, Queensland Health has stated there is no clear evidence yet tying the infections and deaths to the ongoing works. 

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said he would still undergo a heart transplant at Prince Charles, which has “a world-class transplant unit.” Authorities also reiterated no known link exists between the deaths and separate fungal detection in hospital storage zones.

Read: Companies Shortlisted For QLD’s New Hospitals, Expansion Of Major Hospitals Including Prince Charles Hospital

The heart transplant unit has undergone cleaning and affected storage equipment was discarded, officials stated. Recent air tests also showed no lingering fungus concerns, according to Queensland Health.

Published 23-November-2023

Protected Bushland in Chermside Bulldozed for Prince Charles Hospital Car Park Construction

Residents near Beneke’s Bush beside Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside are disappointed and concerned, as what is understood to be protected bushland was bulldozed to make way for a new car park

In late July 2023, heavy machinery descended upon the site, known as Beneke’s Bush. Trees were cut down to pave an access road to facilitate the car park construction.

The destruction included the removal of several large Norfolk Island pines and other trees, much to the dismay of the community.

Beneke’s Bush is supposedly safeguarded under a 99-year conservation agreement involving MP Terry Sullivan, the father of local Stafford Labor MP Jimmy Sullivan. The agreement, however, was voluntary, which meant that there were no enforceable penalties in place to prevent its violation.

“The south-western boundary of the Prince Charles Hospital has an area called Beneke’s Bush. It is part of the only original bushland in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. For the past four years, Cr Terry Hampson—a very dedicated environmentalist—and I worked with Neighbours of Huxtable Park, Men of Trees and other local groups to retain Beneke’s Bush for future generations,” MP Sullivan said in a 1999 statement.

“Because of the redevelopment of the cardiac facilities at Prince Charles Hospital, it was not possible for the department or Ministers to give a final answer until they knew what shape the hospital development would take. With the final plan having been settled on in recent times, it then came down to the hard work of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to work out exactly what would happen.

“I am pleased to have been at the ceremony at which the Health Minister, Wendy Edmond, and Councillor Terry Hampson signed a voluntary conservation agreement which will protect that property for the next 99 years. I thank the Minister who is beside me, Rod Welford, for the efforts of his department and the contribution and support that they gave to bring about the VCA. I believe that it has been a win/win all round. 

“The Neighbours of Huxtable Park have indicated that they would be prepared to do work in that part of the area which will not be needed for medical or hospital services. It will provide not only a buffer for the heavy traffic on Webster and Rode Roads but also a beautiful outlook for patients who are recovering from cardiac medical services. I thank all of those people involved and believe that those four years of hard work have ended in an excellent result.” 

Marchant Ward Councillor Fiona Hammond said the destruction of Beneke’s Bush was  “environmental vandalism.” Residents are appalled that such an important and protected natural space was sacrificed for a temporary construction access route.

“Some of the trees in this area were more than 100 years old. Our community deserved much better than this appalling effort,” Ms Hammond said in a video. “While I understand the need for more car parking at the hospital to relieve pressure on local streets, there are many alternative locations that should have been explored that did not impact our bushland.”

Despite claims from Metro North Health that proper consultation was carried out, a hospital employee contradicted these assertions, revealing that many locals and staff had not received adequate notifications through flyers, emails, or other means. Some learned about the clearing only when the bulldozers arrived on site.

Prince Charles Hospital
Photo Credit: Metro North Health

Metro North Health Executive Director Kate Copeland defended the decision, emphasizing the necessity for additional parking facilities due to the growing demand at Prince Charles Hospital. A 1500-space multistorey car park will be constructed on the site, which is expected for completion in 2024. 

However, the construction process will not be without ecological considerations. Metro North committed to revegetating some of the cleared areas and restoring greenery once construction is complete.

Published 11-Aug-2023

Vaccination at Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside Open to All Ages

Did you know that the vaccination hub at the Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside is open to all ages? The facility’s Education Centre conducts the vaccinations during weekdays following the aggressive rollout of 50 vaccine hubs across Queensland.

However, those who plan on lining up for the jab have to comply with the latest guidelines. According to Queensland Health, individuals under 60 years old are highly recommended to receive the Pfizer vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine to avoid side effects like blood clots, which has been evident in a number of cases. 

“The increase in the number of cases correlates with an increase in the number of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine administered during the reporting period,” the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said in a statement

If you are between the ages of 50 to 59 with a booking for AstraZeneca, you are advised to discuss your options and concerns with your GP first. Queensland Health also recommends that you receive your vaccine from your GP or a Commonwealth respiratory clinic instead of a public vaccination hub.

The public hubs will prioritise high-risk individuals like frontline health workers, aged and disability care staff, people with disabilities, people with specific medical conditions, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults above 50 years old. The health department also advises against walk-ins as they may not be vaccinated.

Ideally, the vaccination appointment will be at least 45 minutes long, which will include screening prior to the vaccination and observation after the injection. It would help to read up on what to expect before, during and after you get your COVID-19 vaccine. 

Photo Credit: The Prince Charles Hospital

Here are the schedules for vaccinations for all ages at The Prince Charles Hospital Education Centre on 627 Rode Road in Chermside:

Monday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Queensland Welcomes 776 New Junior Doctors at Prince Charles Hospital, 44 Other Sites

Queensland Health welcomed 776 new junior doctors in a special meeting with Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and other local officials at the Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside. 

Of these new doctors, 163 medical interns will be taking up residence in Brisbane northside facilities, including Prince Charles Hospital. The rest will be assigned to 44 public hospitals for a full year.

“Best of luck to all of Queensland’s new medical graduates as they embark on this next stage in their medical career!” Member for Aspley Bart Mellish posted on Facebook

“It’s great to see these new recruits at Prince Charles Hospital out there on the frontline, delivering the services northside residents need,” Mr Mellish said in a separate statement.  “I’m proud to be a member of a government that’s investing in a record $21.8 billion health budget that’s delivering exceptional services for Queenslanders.”

These new interns will be joining training programs covering various clinical procedures and practices. The doctors will be under three rotations between Emergency Medicine, General Medicine and General Survey, as well as two elective specialised areas to safely and effectively transition into their chosen path.

“These medical interns and graduate nurses have worked extremely hard to get to this stage of their career and I congratulate them on their achievement,” Ms D’Ath said.  

Photo Credit: Bart Mellish MP/Facebook

“I’m especially grateful they are joining Queensland’s health system during a global pandemic, where they will no doubt face extra challenges they may not have anticipated when they commenced their study.

“Queensland’s doctors and nurses have kept us safe during COVID and these new health workers will help that work continue.”

It comes as the State Government aims to have 9,475 medical and health practitioners providing services in Queensland in the next four years. 

The Prince Charles Hospital Emergency Services Expansion Fast-Tracked

The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside will get an additional $3 million from the state government to fast track the expansion of its emergency services department.  

Deputy Premier and Minister Health Steven Miles confirmed in a press briefing that the northside hospital will soon have additional beds, treatment spaces and better capacity for treating outpatient services.  

Mr Miles said that this expansion will “future proof” The Prince Charles Hospital as demand in the region grows. The population serviced by the hospital is expected to increase in the next few years, especially among the over 70 years old. 

“These projects will ensure the hospital continues to meet the current and future health needs of the Brisbane northside’s growing population. The ED expansion project will address the projected increase in ED presentations with more adult and paediatric treatment spaces, including resuscitation,” Mr Miles said.

Photo Credit: Steven Miles/Facebook

The expansion will bring in additional jobs as well, boosting the region’s recovery plan following the pandemic. 

Currently, The Prince Charles Hospital has 630-bed capacity and locals affirmed that it’s always full.

There is no projected start date of the expansion’s construction but Member for Aspley Bart Mellish said this needs to happen “as quickly as possible so we can meet rapidly growing healthcare needs here on Northside.” 

New $27-Million Facility at Chermside’s The Prince Charles Hospital to Support Young People with Mental Health Illness

Work has begun on a $27-million mental health facility at The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside to support young people suffering from mental health issues.

According to the Queensland Government, the new centre is their response to the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre. Until its closure in 2014, the Barrett Adolescent Centre was the state’s only youth mental health centre that provided accommodation for patients.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the project is part of the government’s $68.2-million investment to rebuild and expand mental health services for young people.

“My government is committed to making sure Queensland’s most vulnerable young people have access to highly specialised healthcare services to help them recover and return to their family, friends and communities,” the Premier said.

“We are delivering for young people experiencing mental health issues who were abandoned by the LNP.

“I want to thank the patients of the former Barrett Adolescent Centre and their families, and other young people with a lived experience of mental health services for their invaluable input which will ensure that this facility and its services will be safe and effective.”

The new facility will include 12 beds, a full-time daily school, a common space as well as space for training and classes.

Minister for Health Steven Miles thinks the construction of the new facility ushers in a new era in the treatment of teens aged 13-18 years with severe and complex mental illness.

“The centre will provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation that fully integrates mental health services with educational programs delivered by teachers from the Department of Education.

“It will also provide a structured environment with a focus on improving the overall function of young people to increase their capacity and confidence to successfully transition back to their community.”

The mental health centre is expected to start operation in 2020.