Ramping of ambulance vehicles at the Ipswich Hospital emergency department.
Ramping of ambulance vehicles at the Ipswich Hospital emergency department.

Horror stats fuel Springfield hospital campaign

THE push for a new public hospital at Springfield has gathered steam following the revelation of concerning new data on emergency waiting times.

This week The Queensland Times reported 40 per cent of patients attending Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department were not being treated within clinically recommended times.

The stats have painted a bleak picture, with the state as a whole experiencing an almost 12 per cent increase in presentations to emergency departments in a six-month period – July 1 2020 to January 31 2021 – compared to the same period the year prior.

It has strengthened the call from Springfield City Group, which is urging the State Government to approve a $350 million public hospital.

The Springfield developers say a new hospital would significantly reduce pressure on hospitals in Ipswich and Brisbane, because many Springfield locals had to travel to either city for certain treatment, including emergency and birthing.

The new hospital is proposed to have 250 beds and 1000 staff.

Former Queensland Health director-general Emeritus Professor Rob Stable – now a health consultant advising Springfield City Group – said the Mater had Ipswich City Council approval for the shovel-ready project.

“The Mater already has a private hospital at Springfield and owns a large parcel of land in Springfield’s medical precinct,” Prof Stable said.

“While Springfield City is in the West Moreton HHS halfway between Brisbane CBD and Ipswich CBD, the new public hospital at Springfield would significantly ease the pressure on surrounding public hospitals struggling with patient demand and associated so-called ambulance ramping.

“Springfield does not have essential public facilities such as a birthing ward or a 24-hour emergency department, so families are having to drive to hospitals in Brisbane or at Logan and Ipswich.”

New data reveals paramedics spent almost 10,000 hours waiting outside overloaded Queensland hospitals with patients in February, including 1230 hours at hospitals in the West Moreton health district, which includes Ipswich.

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce ran a petition last October calling on the State Government to approve the new hospital, and attracted 5000 signatures.

Prof Stable said the case for a hospital at Springfield – one of the fastest growing regions in the nation – was compelling because Springfield had 46,000 residents with 193,000 in the wider catchment.

“Plans are completed and if the hospital was built on time in two years, the extended catchment by then would be 210,000 people,” he said.

“Once built, it will service not just Springfield but new towns like Ripley and neighbouring suburbs.”