Assisting pressure on hospitals in SEQ

Published Tuesday, 26 March, 2019 at 05:23 PM

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles

The Palaszczuk Government has just approved up to $3 million to assist with the current unprecedented and unseasonal demand being experienced by South East Queensland hospital emergency departments.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the hospitals were experiencing very high demand.

“The message I want Queenslanders to know in the South East is; if it’s an emergency always go to am emergency department, but please keep emergency departments for emergencies only,” Mr Miles said.

“Hospitals are open for emergencies but it’s important people understand that the most critical people will be seen first.”

“The $3 million allocation from the Government will be used to provide extra capacity to help relieve pressure.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said emergency departments were facing very heavy pressure across South East Queensland.

“Our outstanding clinicians are working hard to ensure people are treated and admitted where required in a timely manner, but non-emergency and less severe type presentations make it much harder for us to do that," Dr Young said. 

Dr Young said there was no single cause for the unprecedented, unseasonal spike in emergency department presentations.

“We know the summer flu season has been 2.7 times higher than average and we know continued high heat has been a big factor this summer, but we think a range of factors are contributing to the spike in demand.

“A number of hospital and health services are experiencing huge demand. For example in Metro North alone, four of their busiest ever emergency department days have been in the last month

“Queensland Health is coordinating a statewide, systematic response to resolve this challenge, but we are asking the public to help us by keeping emergency departments for emergencies” Dr Young said.

“We are working with our colleagues at Queensland Ambulance Service, the Federal Department of Health and private hospitals to find solutions.”

This includes working with the Commonwealth to escalate access to aged care homes and NDIS accommodation at least 200 patients in beds across South East Queensland hospitals.

“While we are working across the system to address the demand, please remember if you have a GP-style presentation, please got to a GP.

“GPs can treat many conditions you might otherwise go to an emergency department for, such as removing stitches, sprains and strains, bites and stings, many viral and other infections, and assessment of prolonged illness or injury.”


Media contact:            Katharine Wright 0428 957 903