HEALTH FAIL? More workers, but 50,000 patients kept waiting

ALMOST 50,000 patients were kept waiting longer than recommended in the state's emergency departments in August despite the government's health worker hiring spree.

The Palaszczuk Government has put on an extra 10,277 health workers and paramedics since it came to power in 2015, but the latest hospital snapshot shows workers are still struggling to meet targets, with huge numbers reporting they're burned out and overworked.

An Opposition analysis of August's figures, verified by The Courier-Mail, shows 16 of the most urgent "category one" patients - classed as in an immediately life threatening condition - weren't seen within the two-minute target across the state's emergency departments.

Among category two patients (imminently life threatening) 7200 were not seen within the recommended 10 minutes.

And of those classed as category three (potentially life threatening), 26,350 people waited longer than the 30-minute target time.

A further 13,599 ranked as (potentially serious) category 4 patients were not seen within the recommended hour.

Only 68 per cent of patients arriving by ambulance were transferred off-stretcher within 30 minutes.

Among those under the greatest ED stress were the Gold Coast University Hospital and Ipswich Hospital.

The figures follow revelations about the numbers of extra public servants, "executives" and "technical experts" hired by the Palaszczuk Government, which the Opposition says have not improved services, which were actually going backwards.

The Public Service Commission said of the extra 2865 employees on salaries of more than $129,000 a year hired between June 2015 and June 2018, 1556 were allied health workers, 823 were doctors, 152 were nurses, 10 were ambulance officers and 80 were in other "frontline roles".

But the Opposition questioned whether the new hires had made any difference.

"Queenslanders want to know why their schools and hospitals are going backwards despite this increased number of highly-paid executives," Opposition Deputy Leader Tim Mander said. Leader Deb Frecklington pointed to cuts to hospital building budgets, the bungled rollouts of the electronic medical records system (ieMR) and hospital ordering system S/4HANA and money wasted changing the name of the Queensland Children's Hospital.

"These shocking statistics are further evidence that patient care under Annastacia Palaszczuk is going backwards," she said.

Health Minister Steven Miles said hospitals were treating more people than ever, with 2.03 million presentations to EDs in 2018-19.

"This is mostly due to a growing and ageing population, more chronic disease and a federal LNP Government that has cut funding from our hospitals, abandoned aged care home residents, failed to provide affordable GPs and overseen private health insurance premium hikes," he said.

"That's why we're employing more nurses, midwives, doctors, paramedics, and health practitioners. If the LNP think there are too many public health workers, how many would they sack this time? Which doctors and nurses in which hospitals are being paid too much?"

It comes as the latest Working for Queensland survey of public servants, released last week, gives an insight into how health staff feel about their jobs. Nearly 40 per cent said they were "overloaded with work" and just over one third said they "feel burned out by my work".

Among the busiest and most stressed out were staff at Wide Bay, Central Queensland, Central West, Cairns and Gold Coast districts

Worryingly, 41 per cent of health and hospital staff said they did not feel confident that poor performance would be appropriately addressed in their workplace.

Of the 10,277 extra health workers employed since 2015, 5987 were nurses and midwives, 2020 were doctors, 1760 were health professionals and 510 were paramedics.


THERE has been little improvement in the results of a major statewide test that Year 12s have undergone over the past two years, despite thousands of new teachers being added to the workforce.

The number of students who received an A in the annual Queensland Core Skills Test in 2018 fell to 15.58 per cent - down from 17.84 per cent the year before. The number of students who received a B increased slightly from 27.3 per cent to 27.98 per cent during the same period.

The figures, released in Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority's annual report, also revealed ­students who received a C slightly increased from 34.12 per cent to 34.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, 4619 full-time equivalent teachers were ­employed in regional areas between December 2014 and June this year.

However, the Government could not say how many teachers it had employed since it came to power in 2015.

A new State of the Sector report, which this week revealed 33,091 public servants had been hired by the Government since 2015, also highlighted a 30 per cent explosion in executives and technical experts earning more than $129,000 a year, with the majority of those in health and education.

However, the Government yesterday did not explain how many of those positions were teachers and principals.

It comes less than two months after NAPLAN results were released, which revealed Queensland had gone backwards in more than half of all categories.

Students in the state also scored lower than the national average at every year level and in every subject.