Authorities have revealed how they will respond to the recommendations handed down by a coroner after an inquest into the deadly Ravenshoe cafe explosion.
Authorities have revealed how they will respond to the recommendations handed down by a coroner after an inquest into the deadly Ravenshoe cafe explosion.

Ravenshoe cafe deaths will have impact on motorists

HEALTH and transport authorities will set up a working group to consider sweeping changes to the way drivers with medical issues are reported in the wake of an inquest into the Ravenshoe cafe explosion.

Cairns-based Coroner Nerida Wilson gave a number of recommendations, when handing down her inquest findings last week, into the deaths of cafe manager Nicole Nyholt, 37, and Innot Hot Springs grandmother Margaret Clark, 82, who died from injuries suffered in the 2015 blast.

Former Cairns lawyer Nerida Wilson is the Queensland Government's Northern Coroner. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE
Former Cairns lawyer Nerida Wilson is the Queensland Government's Northern Coroner. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE

She suggested setting up an inter-agency working group led by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to consider her proposed campaigns and changes.

These included campaigns aimed at both medical practitioners and motorists about their respective obligations to report conditions and a review of current guidelines into continuity of care and how patients are transferred between doctors.

The cafe blast occurred after local Ravenshoe man Brian Scutt suffered a medical episode and crashed his vehicle into the building.

The scene at the Serves You Right Cafe in Ravenshoe. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The scene at the Serves You Right Cafe in Ravenshoe. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

He was initially charged over the crash, but was ruled mentally unfit to face charges, then died last year.

Along with the deaths of Ms Nyholt and Ms Clark, a further 19 people were injured.

A TMR spokesman confirmed the working group would be established and work on a campaign had begun.

"(The group) will assist in getting information out to doctors though peak medical bodies," he said.

"TMR will also continue to work with Queensland Health to ensure information about medical reporting is available to doctors.

Emergency services transport the most critically injured people in emergency rescue helicopters waiting at the Ravenshoe State School oval.
Emergency services transport the most critically injured people in emergency rescue helicopters waiting at the Ravenshoe State School oval.

"We have already been planning a campaign to assist drivers in understanding their medical condition reporting obligations."

A number of doctors who treated Mr Scutt in the years leading up to the incident gave evidence during the inquest, along with wife Robyn who revealed she had long held fears over his driving.

The TMR spokesman said they "welcomed" the coroner's findings, which included that mandatory reporting obligations should not be on doctors.

"All drivers have a legislative obligation to ensure they are medically fit to drive," he said.

"Any driver with a permanent or long-term medical condition that may affect their ability to drive safely must report this to TMR."

Originally published as How Ravenshoe cafe tragedy will affect motorists


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