Paramedics Bypass A Sick Health System

Paramedics Bypass A Sick Health System

Queensland Shadow Minister for Health Mark McArdle

Qld Health Sends Paramedics Away From Full ED

Victor P Taffa

Thirty one warnings in as many days were emailed to Paramedics by Queensland Health advising them to bypass the PA Hospital Emergency Department because it was full, a Right to Information investigation has revealed.

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle has released a summary of the emails detailing horrendous overcrowding over the course of just one month in the Metro South District EDs including the PA, QEII, Logan and Redlands Hospitals.1

The emails obtained covered each day and each night for July 2010 and revealed the emergency department status reports posted on Queensland Health’s website every day2 were a “sham”.


“These emails reveal that, for example, the Redland Hospital Emergency Department was on bypass on 12 separate occasions for more than 50 hours in total in July 2010 meaning paramedics with sick patients were diverted to other hospitals.”  Mr. McArdle said.

“But, according to Queensland Health’s website, Redland was on bypass only once in July.”

 Emergency Department Status – July 2010

Number of times bypass alerts were issued      

Number of times ‘Extreme Capacity’ alerts was issued

Total hours on bypass  

Total hours on ‘Extreme Capacity’ alert

Princess Alexandra      31      54      ~49     ~123
QEII    12      23      ~29     ~67
Logan   20      24      ~75     ~168
Redlands        12      31      ~52     ~137
TOTAL   75      132     ~205    ~495

“At the PA, QEII and Logan Hospitals, bypass alerts were issued on 31, 12 and 20 occasions respectively in July, yet the misleading Queensland Health website suggests they only went on bypass on 4, 0 and 1 occasions respectively.”

“This is another example of Queensland Health’s Spin Doctors hard at work.”

“Shockingly, on one occasion on the afternoon of July 5, the PA, QEII, Logan and Redlands were all on either bypass or extreme capacity alert at the same time.  This is simply not acceptable for the people of Queensland.”

Mr. McArdle said just last month a leaked memo revealed that the Metro South District is facing a $90 Million deficit in 2010-2011 and hospitals in the District are being told to address this shortfall by cutting staff and services.

“These hospitals need more of the health budget finding its way to front-line services – not less.”

“We have already seen the first of the service cuts with the Bligh Labor Government proposing to end the public funding of 10 palliative care beds at Canossa Hospital.” Mr. McArdle said

“It is simply appalling that Labor’s 12 years of waste and mismanagement has culminated in a directive to hospitals to save money by cutting services.”

“Queenslanders clearly need and want better emergency health care than they have been getting from Queensland Health, but the poor planning and waste will not end until they get rid of Bligh and Labor and elect an LNP Government.” Mr. McArdle said

1 A large Right-To-Information document as well as a summary spreadsheet is available upon request.

2 See