Gold Coast Hospitals will soon receive a much needed $6 million injection in the emergency departments.
The funding will be sourced from organisational-wide savings, and will be spent on extra doctors and nurses across both the Gold Coast University Hospital and the Robina Hospital.
Gold Coast Health Chief Executive Officer Ron Calvert says it’s the largest-scale initiative of funding for the emergency departments ever undertaken by Gold Coast Health.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“Over the next year, approximately $20 million will be invested in a variety of changes to help staff cope with the relentless demand experienced by our emergency departments along with new initiatives to reduce waiting times and improve the overall patient experience,” Mr Calvert said.
The announcement follows a state government pledge in July to fund 40 extra beds across the two hospitals.
It’s all to help battle the growing presentations to the emergency departments and the flow on effect to the rest of the hospital.
Last month, 15,376 people were treated at Gold Coast Health emergency departments; an increase of 5 per cent on the same time last year.
Four out of 10 people who presented to emergency departments in August were then admitted for further treatment.
It’s understood a new triage method will be trialled next month as well, where patients are deemed either ambulatory (able to walk) or non-ambulatory (unable to walk and requiring a bed), to improve patient waiting times.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Service Steven Miles says there are a few more things in the works as well.
“We are also in the planning stage of a new mental health crisis stabilisation facility, which will provide an emergency department alternative for people experiencing acute mental health concerns.
“In the interim, emergency department staffing will include a rapid response mental health nurse, social worker and a homelessness specialist, to meet the growing demands of the Gold Coast population,” Minister Miles said.
In the last financial year, Gold Coast Health experienced significant increases in the complexity and impact of mental health issues, with emergency department presentations increasing by 11 per cent while calls to the mental health hotline (1300MHCALL) increased by 13 per cent.