The package of initiatives implemented by the Palaszczuk Government yesterday afternoon is working hard as pressure eases on South East Queensland hospitals.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said while some of the demand had eased, the unseasonal summer surge was still being felt across both public and private hospitals.
“Overnight and this morning, presentations to hospitals in Brisbane have returned to more normal levels, however Gold Coast is still experiencing high demand,” Mr Miles said.
“Additional bed capacity has allowed EDs to admit patients and clear some of the backlog.
“My message to the public remains the same: if it’s an emergency always go to an emergency department, but please keep emergency departments for emergencies only.
“The $3 million allocation from the Government will continue to be used to provide extra capacity to help relieve pressure.
“Already we’ve been able to open an additional 30 beds for public patients at the Mater which are effectively being used to help stabilise demand across the system.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the health system is prepared for this type of capacity surge, and manages it using a range of tried and tested system-wide strategies.
“Queensland has learned the lessons from winter flu – the higher admission rates and their impact on EDs –and we invest in extra capacity every winter”, Dr Young said.
“We work as a system to manage high demand throughout particularly busy periods every year.
“We’ve been able to replicate the same strategy we use for these period for the current unseasonal demand.
“Our plan is working – we are already seeing results.”
Dr Young said work was continuing to open more flex beds in the areas required.
“We are continuing to coordinate with or colleagues at private hospitals, Queensland Ambulance Service and the Federal Department of Health,” Dr Young said.
“Our hospitals are open and our emergency departments will always treat everyone who presents. But if you turn up to an ED with a less severe, conditions that can be managed by a GP, you will need to be prepared to wait.
“Hospitals are also working very hard to ensure elective surgery is not postponed. Please continue to turn up to your booked surgery, unless you are contacted by your hospital to advise otherwise.”
Minister Miles acknowledged the ongoing dedication of the medical workforce across the state.
“I want our staff to know that the Government understands the tough pressures they are under – and we are responding to them,” Mr Miles said.
“I want the public to know that our emergency departments remain open but please be patient, and look to other options if you don’t have a genuine emergency.”