The Chronicle

Hospital calls ramp up

- JARRARD POTTER at Henderson Hospital.

CALLS for a new hospital in Toowoomba have ramped up following revelation­s that about one third of ambulances arriving at Toowoomba Hospital were stuck waiting for more than 30 minutes to offload their patient.

A report by the state’s Auditor-General has revealed that cases of ramping, where ambulances were stuck waiting for an available bed for patients, increased from 13.1 per cent to 33 per cent since June 2020.

As a result, the AuditorGen­eral’s report found over the past year an additional 20 per cent of ambulances attending Toowoomba Hospital were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes before their patient was transferre­d off-stretcher.

Data from the Queensland Health Emergency Department Informatio­n System confirmed that of the 15,503 patients to present to Toowoomba Hospital’s emergency department in the June 2021 quarter, 67 per cent were transferre­d off-stretcher within half an hour.

The quarterly emergency department informatio­n also revealed that 62 per cent of patients were seen within clinically recommende­d times, with the median wait time for treatment 23 minutes.

A total of half of emergency department patients were admitted to hospital within four hours during the June quarter.

Toowoomba is in desperate need of a new public hospital, with even the Queensland Government admitting the current facility was at capacity in a lot of areas.

Despite the need for improved health facilities in one of Queensland’s largest regions, state treasurer Cameron Dick recently said it was unclear when the Garden City would get one.

Even if a new hospital were to be announced tomorrow, it would take anywhere from five to six years for the project to be completed.

Toowoomba South MP David Janetzki said the figures revealed that more needed to be done.

“For our region’s future, it’s time to start building a new Toowoomba Hospital.

“Our region is attracting more families and new businesses, and we need enhanced services to meet this growth.”

Darling Downs Health acting chief executive Annette Scott said a clinical decision unit has been implemente­d close to the emergency department with a sole focus on improving patient flow.

“The clinical decision unit has had a significan­t impact on the efficiency of patient flow through the ED which allows up to safely make decisions on the best plan for care,” she said.

Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath to commit to the proposed Toowoomba Hospital Redevelopm­ent Project Baillie

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