WAITING: The latest ambulance ramping rate for Ipswich Hospital sits at 34 per cent, two points above the state average.
WAITING: The latest ambulance ramping rate for Ipswich Hospital sits at 34 per cent, two points above the state average. Cordell Richardson

Emergency department struggles to keep up with demand

AN "unprecedented demand" for health services in Ipswich due to the city's rapidly ballooning population is leading to increased wait times to get emergency care.

Latest ambulance ramping rate for Ipswich Hospital sits at 34 per cent, two points above the state average, which Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington slammed as "horrific".

West Moreton Health executive director Melinda Parcell said the region is one of the fastest growing in the state with the population set to double to about 587,000 by 2036.

The data is taken across the month of August, where the hospital's emergency department saw 6,406 people; 1143 more than the same period three years ago.

All of the 91 patients in need of immediate life-saving care in August were seen within the required two minutes.

"That growth is creating unprecedented demand for health services," she said.

"We continually assess our processes and staffing models to ensure we are delivering the best and safest possible care to the community and work with our health partners, particularly Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), to improve the timely delivery of emergency department care.

"The creation of a Health Operations Centre at Ipswich Hospital allows us to work more effectively with QAS and other health services to safely manage patient arrivals and transfers and get ambulances out on the road as soon as possible.

"Specialist nursing staff are rostered on every shift to help assess patients arriving by ambulance, easing their transition to the emergency department and keeping them safe.

"We are also working to harness the benefits of digital hospital technology to deliver better outcomes for patients.

"Everyone who comes to one of our emergency departments will be seen.

"People in need of critical care will be prioritised over those with ailments that could be treated by a general practitioner or pharmacist."

Mrs Frecklington said the LNP will partner with the private sector to take the pressure off Queensland Health in an effort to free up room in emergency departments.

"The LNP have listened to doctors and nurses and we will re-focus our public health system on better patient care and better health services," she said.

Health Minister Steven Miles said demand was "significantly" exceeding population growth.

"Presentations at West Moreton Health emergency departments have increased by 11 per cent in August 2019 compared to August 2018," he said.

"What's more, there were 27 per cent more category 1 presentations, the most urgent patients requiring resuscitation.

"The Leader of the Opposition said the LNP would privatise more public healthcare. This means cutting staff and privatising Queensland Health jobs."