THE Queensland government is under pressure over its handling of ambulance ramping and overcrowding at Logan Hospital as Logan council and the LNP call for immediate action.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the latest Queensland Health data revealed a 24 per cent rise in ambulance ramping at Queensland hospitals in the 12 months up to November 2018.
The figures showed 40 per cent of Logan Hospital patients waited in an ambulance for longer than 30 minutes before receiving emergency treatment, an increase of five per cent.
“Ambulance ramping is getting worse, thanks to the Palaszczuk government,” Ms Frecklington said.
“They’ve bungled the health IT system, ignored overcrowding, shut down regional maternity wards and haven’t done anything to reduce parking costs at public hospitals.”
Logan council acting mayor Cherie Daley said she wrote to Health Minister Steven Miles in November and asked him to act on Logan Metro South Health and Hospital Services modelling which projected a 103 bed shortage by 2021-22.
Deputy mayor Trevina Schwarz said urgent action was needed with Queensland Health’s own data showing Logan Hospital was among the worst in the state for waiting times.
“Logan Hospital is one of the most in-demand in Queensland with upwards of 88,000 admissions to the emergency department each year,” Ms Schwarz said.
“The number of patients and the services they require will only continue to grow, however, Building Queensland say they are still developing a business case for the Logan Hospital expansion.
“The case for an upgrade was made long ago, so the state government must finalise that process now so that real progress can begin.”
Health Minister Steven Miles said a detailed design phase was underway for a $280 million expansion into Logan Hospital with construction expected in 2020.
“This was an election commitment by the Labor government to expand bed capacity at Logan Hospital and we are delivering on that,” Mr Miles said.
Amid the political pressure, Mr Miles also announced an emergency department expansion for mental health patients at Logan Hospital on Friday, January 11.
Mr Miles said the $1.5 million investment would provide space for patients and free up capacity.
“This is an important initiative and one we have been working on with the leadership of the Logan Hospital Emergency Department for some time,” he said.
“The hospital’s location in one of Queensland’s largest growth corridors means demand for health services, including mental health will continue to grow.
“...It will also take some load off the rest of the Emergency Department.”
The Queensland Health department released a statement outlining new ideas to get patients admitted to emergency departments sooner.
“Queensland Ambulance Service and our Hospital and Health Services have instituted a process – the Rapid Transfer of Care process – as just one tool to help deal with the huge growth in demand.
“The process sees QAS front line staff working closely with emergency department staff at a number of hospitals during times of surge to ensure the safe and timely handover of patients from ambulance stretcher to emergency department.
“The process is helping ensure patients receive the care they need sooner, while allowing our ambulances to get back on the road as quickly as possible.”