RAMPING: Ambulances ramped at Rockhampton Hospital's Emergency Department.
RAMPING: Ambulances ramped at Rockhampton Hospital's Emergency Department.

Latest Rocky Hospital data sparks health care debate

Recently-released Rockhampton Hospital data for the quarter from October to December 2020 has sparked a debate between state ministers about rocketing health care demand.

In the Central Queensland region, there were 5000 more emergency department presentations in February 2021 than at the same time last year.

Monthly emergency department information for January showed that 53 per cent of Rockhampton Hospital patients were transferred off their stretchers within 30 minutes.

Overall, about one in three patients were not treated within clinically-recommended time frames in the emergency department, although all of those in the most urgent category were.

The number of attendees at the Rockhampton emergency department from March 2019 to December 2020.
The number of attendees at the Rockhampton emergency department from March 2019 to December 2020.

Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said the data showed the “shocking state” of the public health system.

“Under Labor, ramping is back at Rockhampton Hospital and locals deserve better.

“It’s unacceptable that nearly half of all patients taken to Rockhampton Hospital in an

ambulance are forced to wait longer than the recommended 30 minute time frame.

Ms Bates said hospital staff were “sick of being ignored” by the government’s “refusal to properly resource our hospitals”.

“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.

“Rockhampton residents deserve a world class health system, not second-rate health care.”

The number of patients seen within clinically-recommended times at the Rockhampton emergency department from March 2019 to December 2020.
The number of patients seen within clinically-recommended times at the Rockhampton emergency department from March 2019 to December 2020.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the data was explained by the increase in health care demand across the state.

“Our public hospitals are seeing more patients presenting to emergency departments than ever before,” she said.

“For the LNP to suggest that patients are in the back of ambulances without treatment shows a lack of understanding, and is an insult to our hardworking paramedics and Queensland Health staff.

“When the LNP were last in power they sacked 4400 health staff, including 1800 nurses and midwives.

“In the Central Queensland HHS, the LNP sacked 197 doctors and nurses.”

Ms D’Ath said the State Government was investing in Queensland’s health infrastructure by strengthening ambulance services, increasing bed capacity, and training more paramedics over the next four years.



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