Patients to Ipswich Hospital are reportedly facing extensive wait times before recieving medical treatment. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Patients to Ipswich Hospital are reportedly facing extensive wait times before recieving medical treatment. Picture: Tertius Pickard

‘UNACCEPTABLE’: Hospital patients facing huge wait times

PATIENTS visiting Ipswich Hospital are reportedly being faced with extensive waiting times as staff struggle to cope with increased workloads.

A quarterly report from Queensland Health stated there had been a significant increase in patient ramping, with many forced to wait inside an ambulance before receiving any treatment.

About 39 per cent of current patients were being impacted, which is 11 per cent more than in December 2019.

Staff at Ipswich Hospital are reportedly struggling with increased patient loads. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Staff at Ipswich Hospital are reportedly struggling with increased patient loads. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Meanwhile, more than 40 per cent of patients attending the emergency department were not treated within clinically recommended time frames.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said this was due to a “deluge” of people presenting to public hospitals, which unlike GPs, operated 24/7 at no cost to the patient.

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“We are also seeing an increase of patients requiring urgent care, meaning those with less serious and non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries will need to wait,” she said.

She said there had been an almost 12 per cent increase in presentations to the state’s emergency departments in a six-month period – July 1 2020 to January 31 2021 – compared to the same period the year prior.

Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates has called on Queensland Health to overhaul the public health system. Photo: Scott Powick
Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates has called on Queensland Health to overhaul the public health system. Photo: Scott Powick

“There were 204,824 patients that required resuscitation (Category 1) or critical care (Category 2), 12,366 (6.4 per cent) more patients than the same period last year,” the spokeswoman said.

“There were 392,526 patients that arrived by ambulance of which 357,354 were Code 1 (Emergency) and Code 2 (Urgent) ambulances, 71.8 per cent of patients were off stretcher within 30 minutes.”

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Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates this week slammed Queensland’s public health system, saying it was in a “shocking state” and that extensive waiting times were “unacceptable.”

She called on Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath to explain why standards had slipped and whether issues would be rectified.

“The Minister must urgently travel to the region and listen to staff and outline her plan to improve wait times,” she said.

About 39 per cent of current patients to the hospital are being forced to wait in an ambulance before receiving any medical treatment.
About 39 per cent of current patients to the hospital are being forced to wait in an ambulance before receiving any medical treatment.

Ms Bates said Ipswich residents deserved a “world-class health system.”

“As a nurse, I know how exhausting it can be for doctors and nurses working long hours under immense pressure on the frontline,” she said.

“Hospital staff across Queensland are sick of being ignored by the state government and their refusal to properly resource our hospitals.”

The Queensland Health spokeswoman said in response there was a range of procedures and programs in place to ensure emergency departments worked as efficiently as possible.

“We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of extra people treated and treated safely in our EDs over recent years,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter which mode of transport you arrive to an emergency department in, we treat the sickest, most critically unwell patients first.”

Read more stories by Kaitlyn Smith here.