Evie Marshall 12, with her mother Sonia Marshall. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson
Evie Marshall 12, with her mother Sonia Marshall. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson

Cross-infection risk in specialist hospital

THE Queensland Government has delayed funding for lifesaving upgrades to the only adult cystic fibrosis hospital ward in the state despite conceding more than two years ago it posed a risk to patients.

The Courier-Mail has obtained a letter sent by Resources Minister Anthony Lynham in December 2015 saying then-health minister Cameron Dick "acknowledges the cross-infection risk" between patients forced to share bathrooms in the specialist ward.

Cystic fibrosis sufferers are at severe risk of infection and should avoid close contact with other sufferers, the Cystic Fibrosis Federation of Australia says.

In the letter to the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Patient Advisory Group Dr Lynham, whose electorate of Stafford includes the hospital, conceded "ideally, individual ensuites would be preferred" but said there was no funding in the 2015-16 capital works budget.

Funding has still not been allocated despite warnings from Cystic Fibrosis Queensland the hospital is in breach of international standards, although hospital executive director Anthony Williams said it was "looking at options".

"Queensland Health must urgently invest in the refurbishment of this facility to provide the minimal standards of infection control," Cystic Fibrosis Queensland chief Patrina Fraccaro said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington called for an urgent fix.

"Queenslanders should go to hospital expecting they will get better, not have their health put at further risk," Ms Frecklington said.

Children with cystic fibrosis are treated in self-contained rooms with ensuites at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital. But most must share bathrooms when they turn 18 and are treated at Prince Charles Hospital, which has only two rooms with ensuites.

Sonia Marshall, from Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast, said she wouldn't let daughter Evie, 12, go there when she is older.

"There is no way that she will be going to that hospital, Ms Marshall (pictured with Evie) said.

"We will have to move to another capital city."