Minister Welcomes 40 New Paramedics To South East Queensland Health

Minister Welcomes 40 New Paramedics To South East Queensland Health

Queensland Minister for Health Cameron Dick

40 Extra Paramedics To Boost Access To Emergency Departments

Victor P Taffa

40 extra paramedics will join the frontline as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $10 Million South East Queensland Emergency Care Action Plan to boost access to emergency care at some of the state’s busiest hospitals.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said the plan was aimed at addressing the significant growth in Emergency Department demand.

“Like so many parts of our health system, we have seen continual growth in Emergency Department demand, not just in sheer volume, but in the severity and complexity of illnesses and injuries people are presenting with.” Mr. Dick said.

“In the last financial year, our Emergency Departments dealt with an additional 25,000 presentations a 5.7 % increase in activity.

“There was a record 478,000 ambulance arrivals at public hospitals, an increase of almost 5 % over the previous financial year.”

“In addition, there was a 10.4 % increase in presentations in critically ill Category 1 patients requiring immediate attention in Emergency Departments.” Mr. Dick said.

“Emergency Care Action Plan is aimed at improving patient flow through our Emergency Departments either from the moment they arrive or when they dial 000 for an ambulance.”

“Plan outlines a range of initiatives to help public hospitals and the Queensland Ambulance Service deal with this demand and improve the delivery of emergency care across the south east.”

“5-point plan will deliver more paramedics, new models of care, increased hospital capacity, and better service coordination.” Mr. Dick said.

Main elements of the plan are:

  • $5 Million for an additional 40 paramedics
  • $1.8 Million for improved Emergency Department models of care
  • Fast-tracking the implementation of a standardised handover protocol, and employing dedicated nursing staff to ensure timely and safe handover of patients between ambulances and Emergency Departments
  • $1.2 Million to establish Patient Access Coordination Hubs across the south east following the successful pilot at Metro North Hospital and Health Service
  • $1.3 Million to implement proven models of care specific to frail elderly patients

This $10 Million plan is in addition to a number of other initiatives the Queensland Government is delivering to reduce demand on Emergency Departments, including the $15 Million Winter Beds Strategy and $32.9 Million in service agreements for the Hospital and Health Services in south east Queensland.

“While we can always look for ways to improve performance through reform of our processes, the challenges presented by rising demand can sometimes best be met by increasing capacity.” Mr. Dick said.

“That is why in the 2017–18 Budget we allocated $112.2 Million to begin planning for the redevelopment of the Logan, Ipswich and Caboolture hospitals to increase capacity in these regions where demand pressures are greatest.”

Mr. Dick said the action plan was the key outcome of an Emergency Access Summit held this month where a range of key leaders from Hospital and Health Services in south east Queensland and the Queensland Ambulance Service identified ways to improve access to emergency departments in the south east corner.

“I am delighted to see that these discussions have resulted in the Emergency Care Action Plan and created a way for us to better link emergency departments, inpatient units, and the QAS to improve patient flow and ultimately better meet the needs of patients.” Mr. Dick said.

Commissioner of the Queensland Ambulance Service, Russell Bowles, said the Emergency Care Action Plan was a welcome boost to the capacity of the ambulance service.

“This is a very welcome increase in our capabilities and will help ensure we can continue to deliver high-quality emergency medical care to our patients.” Commissioner Bowles said.

“Our frontline paramedics do a fantastic job looking after the Queensland community but it’s important that we are able to keep pace with the growing demand for our services.”

“By providing us with an improved capacity to hand over our patients in a safe and timely manner to nursing staff at emergency departments, it will allow our paramedics to get back out on the road more quickly so they can be ready to respond to the next emergency.” Commissioner Bowles said.