SeaLink has introduced a custom-built ambulance vessel, Medicat, to transport patients between the South Moreton Bay Islands and the mainland in Queensland, Australia.

The 12m-long vessel has the capacity to carry three patients on stretchers, along with 16 people on board, including ambulance officers and the vessel master.

In comparison with the earlier ferry, the A$1.77m ($1.1m) purpose-built vessel for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is expected to offer an increased capacity, along with improved comfort and safety.

Medicat was created in consultation with the QAS and in collaboration with shipbuilder Commercial Marine Australia (CMA).

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman said: “Having a medical incident or injury can be scary, especially when there is a large body of water between you and the care you need.

“Our excellent working relationship with SeaLink has meant our patients have always been transferred safely, with the much-needed QAS support onboard. This new vessel means we can transfer not one, but three patients at a time under QAS supervision, to the specialist care they need.

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“It is another great example of innovative solutions that benefit not only our patients but our staff too. The Palaszcuk Government will continue to support the QAS in delivering their first-class essential service to the Southern Bay Island communities.”