Queensland public hospitals at “crisis point” will be given an extra $ 100 million from the Palaszczuk government to solve ambulance ramping and an undersupply of beds.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath revealed the new funding on Tuesday morning, which she said will initially create 65 new beds at busy facilities in Ipswich, West Moreton and Greater Brisbane.
“The unprecedented demand for health services that Queensland is experiencing, along with all the States and Territories, is putting pressure on the health system,” she told parliament.
“This $ 100 million package is aimed squarely at tackling the unprecedented demand we’re seeing in our busy public hospitals.”
The funding will result in $ 7.2m and 26 beds for Ipswich Hospital, $ 5.3m and 13 beds for patients in West Moreton, $ 7.1m and 26 beds for Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital, and “$ 20 million for ‘winter bed’ funding to open more beds in areas with the most demand”.
Ms D’Ath said the new package comes after consultation between Queensland Health, hospital and health services as well as unions after the sector’s peak body declared public hospitals were at “crisis point”.
Clogged emergency departments and too few beds is leading to an exodus of burnt-out staff, according to Australian Medical Association Queensland member and Australian College for Emergency Medicine spokesperson Kim Hansen who said the current situation is the worst emergency doctors had ever experienced
“There’s been a surge in patients this year – most hospitals are seeing record numbers and they just don’t have the staff or beds to cope,” she said last month.
“The system was already at full capacity and now it’s swamped.”
Dr Hansen said the departments had struggled amid patients being stuck in waiting rooms for hours and ambulances ramping at hospitals.
“Emergency departments are the canary in the coalmine,” she said. “They bear the burden when other parts of the health system are over capacity.
“Emergency doctors and nurses are happy to work hard to see all the patients, but they can’t do it well if they have to practise ‘waiting room medicine’.
“It’s awful, like putting a bandaid on a stab wound.”