New figures revealed this morning show the Gold Coast University Hospital’s Emergency Department is in worse condition than expected.
Crisis meetings will reportedly be held today, to discuss where to keep excess patients in Queensland hospitals when beds are full.
It comes 12 months on from the Commonwealth Games, for which the ‘rapid offload’ policy was introduced to ensure ambulances were not ramped at hospitals during the event.
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The policy allows paramedics to leave patients on stretchers outside the hospital until beds are free, in order to free up ambulances.
It was only introduced as a spot fix for the busy Commonwealth Games period, though has since remained in place, with hospitals all around the state in dire need of a better solution.
In documents released by the Courier Mail, obtained under ‘Right To Information’, it’s been revealed that pressure on Gold Coast Hospital, in particular, is mounting considerably.
Since April 2018, the number of patients not seen within 30 minutes of arriving at the Emergency Department is up 14 percent – which is the highest increase in the state.
The figures come just days after the hospital called yet another ‘code yellow’, after an ‘unprecedented demand’ on the ED, where staff had to be called in from Logan and Brisbane to assist the Gold Coast staff.
However the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane – where staff were sourced from – is also experiencing a 13 percent increase on patients not being seen within 30 minutes at their Emergency Department as well.
Logan Hospital is also up just four percent, according to the figures released by the Courier Mail this morning.
The Director of Emergency Medicine, Doctor David Green, spoke to myGC earlier this week during the hospital’s code yellow.
Nursing staff had worked back to back shifts, the hospital was calling in staff from other hospitals, they had experienced a manic 24 hours.
Doctor Green said that while code yellow’s allowed the hospital access to more staff temporarily, they desperately need an ongoing fix.
“This is the biggest emergency department in the country now, which is something we never really anticipated.
“To cope with that demand we need future planning and ongoing investment and resources in both medical and nursing staff,” Doctor Green said.
LNP Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates says the rapid offload policy was only supposed to be a stopgap measure to get through the Commonwealth Games.
“Patient care should always be the priority, not stopping bad media headlines.
“As a nurse, it makes me angry to see sick and injured Queenslanders lined up on stretchers in hospital corridors.
“It’s obvious our hard-working nurses, doctors and paramedics need more help on the frontline,” Ms Bates said.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington says it’s a disgrace that the policy has been allowed to stay in place.
“Labor’s priorities are all wrong – they’d rather change hospital names and fudge figures than fix the ambulance ramping crisis.
“Our hospitals are at breaking point, which is impacting on patient care.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk promised better local health services at the last election, but things have gone backwards.”