Paramedics left waiting at emergency department

PARAMEDICS have been left waiting for the Hervey Bay Hospital to admit patients for up to five hours.

But, the hospital has said the wait times are not as dire as paramedics warned.

A number of paramedics spoke to the Chronicle anonymously and said they were stuck waiting for the hospital to admit patients, or ramping, at least once every shift.

One paramedic said he had recently achieved a personal record for his career, which spanned more than a decade, and waited at the hospital for five hours and five minutes.

The Chronicle spent a shift with paramedics on October 11 and during that time three ambulances were ramped at the hospital at one time for more than 15 minutes.

Paramedics are required to stay with patients until the hospital takes responsibility for them, meaning a paramedic is unable to respond to new emergencies in the region.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said there were two recent cases of level three ramping. 

Level three ramping causes the hospital to cancel elective surgery procedures in order to free up beds.  However, in these two cases no elective surgery was cancelled due to these two incidents.

They were on July 23 and August 11.

In August the hospital told the Chronicle the planned $35 million expansion of the emergency department would help resolve the issue.

"The business case for the expansion of the Hervey Bay Hospital emergency department is progressing through the investment review gate process," the spokesman said.

LNP health spokesman Mark McArdle said the emergency department's layout was not up to scratch for modern medicine.

"It is a problem waiting to explode," he said.

He said the upgrade was not soon enough.

"The process should be expedited," he said.

"It is not serving the people of Hervey Bay and the region."

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