Greener vehicle fleet for health workers

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Cairns North Community Health Centre clinicians Julie-Ann Douglas (foreground) with Mary Spencer (inside car), and (back, L-R) Nicole Sporne, Julie Rees and Elsie Mullings are excited about being able to use electric vehicles within the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service fleet.

Doctors, nurses and community health workers are driving greener cars as the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) adds electric vehicles to its fleet.

The Health Service is switched onto the future, with the first of its fleet cars going all-electric as it embraces the Queensland Government’s zero emissions vehicle policy.

Six electric vehicle charging points have been installed at the Cairns North Community Health Centre, the first of many to be rolled out at its facilities across the Far North.

CHHHS Chief Financial Officer, Steve Thacker, said the service has leased six fully electric vehicles, two Hyundai Ionics and four Hyundai Konas to join the fleet at Cairns North.

‘As part of the government’s QFleet Electric Vehicle Transition Strategy, we are embracing EVs within our vehicle fleet,’ he said.

‘These vehicles each have a range of up 400km on a single charge, which will allow us to provide community care across our vast region, while reducing our overall carbon footprint.

‘We are planning on installing further charging points at some of our other healthcare facilities, including Cairns Hospital, in the very near future.’

Mr Thacker said CHHHS staff, including doctors and nurses, travelled an average of 9,275km each day providing healthcare services across Far North Queensland.

‘We have a total 243 vehicles within our fleet, which take our teams as far and wide as Croydon in the west, the Daintree in the north, and Tully in the south,’ he said.

‘Of our fleet, 18 are hybrids, and now 6 are entirely electric powered.

‘This means that 10 per cent of our fleet are environmentally responsible, with more on the way shortly.

‘This is not only extremely important for the environment in terms of reducing emissions, but also helps to offset the rises in fuel and operational costs we are all experiencing.’

Cairns North Community Health Team Leader Julie Rees said staff were very excited to be among the first CHHHS employees to get behind the wheel of completely electric vehicles.

‘Our team covers an area as far south as Tully, out to Kuranda, and up to Palm Cove,’ she said.

‘We won’t need to fill up our cars at service stations anymore: we can just come here and charge overnight.

‘It’s exciting to lead the way in helping our Health Service use clean, green, renewable energy.’