A Tale of 3 Cities: The 2011 Evacuation of Cairns Base Hospital

The 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference is on this month over the 21-22 May at The Star Gold Coast.

Dr Jeannette Young

Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer and Deputy Director-General Prevention Division with the Department of Health, Queensland Government joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘A Tale of 3 Cities: The 2011 Evacuation of Cairns Base Hospital’.


In February 2011 the Cairns Base Hospital and Cairns Private Hospital were evacuated from the path of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi with over 300 patents transported to Brisbane. This occurred on the back of severe weather and flooding that affected 85% of the state.

The evacuation was a multi agency, state-wide response with significant contributions from, but not limited to, the Australian Defence Force; all uniformed agencies; aeromedical and general aviation providers; local, district and state disaster coordination centres; the Commonwealth and private health system providers; and public hospitals and health services locally and state wide.

At the same time the residents of a number of nursing homes in the Townville region were evacuated by road to temporary shelter or other healthcare facilities.
Hospital and healthcare facility evacuation is not always an easy decision and comes with significant risks. It also does not occur in isolation and needs to consider ongoing health care to the local community; ongoing health care to existing patients and residents; impact of patient redistribution on other health services; and repatriation.
This presentation will describe the key challenges faced before, during and following the evacuations; the lessons both observed and learned; and progress since then.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER Dr Young has been the Queensland Chief Health Officer since 2005. Previously she worked in a range of positions in Queensland and Sydney. She has specialist qualifications as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and as a Fellow by Distinction of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. Her role as Chief Health Officer and Deputy Director-General includes responsibility for health disaster planning and response; aero-medical retrieval services; licensing of private hospitals; and policy regarding organ and tissue donation; blood, poisons and medicines; cancer screening; communicable diseases; environmental health; preventive health; and medical workforce planning and leadership.

For more information on the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit the conference website.