Ambulance Ramping
Ambulance Ramping

600 stranded in public hospitals waiting to be moved

The State Government has urged the Commonwealth to find space for almost 600 people who are currently using public hospital beds while waiting to be moved to aged care and disability services.

It follows recent concerns about unprecedented pressure on the health service with paramedics losing almost 10,000 hours in February while waiting with their patients before they're admitted to hospital.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath this morning announced she would convene a meeting of the Patient Access Advisory Committee later this week with representation from hospital and health services, consumer groups and unions.

The committee meets bi-monthly.

Ambulance ramping figures for southeast Queensland in the month of February.
Ambulance ramping figures for southeast Queensland in the month of February.

"Almost 600 public hospital beds are taken up by patients who are awaiting placement in aged care and disability facilities," Ms D'Ath said.

"Just today I wrote to the Federal Minister to request Federal Government assistance in finding suitable accommodation for these individuals."

Ms D'Ath said staff were working hard to clear elective surgery lists that had backed up during the pandemic.

She conceded the "flow on" effect was placing pressure on ambulance services.

"Our health system has weathered the seismic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

"We now face an unprecedented influx of demand."

Meanwhile, there are renewed calls for the State Government to approve a new $350 million public hospital in Springfield that would help ease pressure on surrounding hospitals.

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said she would consider a review, following calls by United Workers Union national ambulance co-ordinator Fiona Scalon, amid startling ambulance ramping figures.

Former Queensland Health Director-General Rob Stable - who is a health consultant advising Springfield City Group - told The Courier-Mail the Mater's proposed public hospital would ease pressure on neighbouring facilities.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would consider a review. Picture: Brendan Radke
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would consider a review. Picture: Brendan Radke

He said there was a need for more hospital beds in the southeast, with the problem to get worse as more people migrated to Queensland.

"The Mater already has a private hospital at Springfield and owns a large parcel of land in

Springfield's medical precinct," he 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."

The push comes after The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed paramedics lost almost 10,000 hours in one month because of ambulance ramping across the southeast.

The Springfield hospital proposal has council approval.

A petition, which last year called on the government to immediately approve it, garnered 5000 signatures.

Prof Stable said the case for the new facility was compelling because Springfield had 46,000 residents with 193,000 in the wider catchment.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the government continued to invest in health services in the West Moreton region and the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service was working closely with Mater Private Hospital Springfield and other local providers to ensure the community could access care they needed.

Ms Palaszczuk yesterday said she was happy to talk to the Health Minister about a health system review - similar to that conducted in 2013 amid a ramping crisis.

"Our hospitals at the moment are quite crowded and we need to start letting people know please go back to your GP," she said.

Originally published as 600 stranded in public hospitals waiting to be moved



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