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Why are ambos left in four-hour hospital queues?

AN ambulance union spokesman says "something is about to break" in the region's health services, with patients being left on stretchers at hospitals for too long - more than four hours in one case.

Hervey Bay Hospital will double its emergency department capacity in two months but some residents and paramedics say ramping issues are at a critical point now, particularly at Maryborough Hospital.

Local paramedic and United Voice State Council union delegate for Wide Bay Roy Grover said the more time paramedics spent waiting with patients for beds, the less time they had to respond to emergencies in the field.

"We're at a critical stage now where something is going to break," he said.

"I had a person on the ambulance trolley for four and a half hours the other week when the Minister was up visiting, and then they say there is no such thing as ramping," Mr Grover said.

His concerns are shared by residents who contacted the Chronicle, with one told they would have to go as far as Bundaberg to be admitted to an Emergency Department.

"Maryborough Hospital needs a huge injection of funding to go back to a fully capable and functioning Emergency Department like Hervey Bay," Mr Grover said.

"Because they've got the reduced capacity at Maryborough they have to come to Hervey Bay, and because Hervey Bay is chock-a-block, they have to go to the next biggest hospital, which often is either Nambour or Bundaberg."

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington said the expansion at Hervey Bay Hospital, to open on September 1, would reduce the potential for ramping at both Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals.

"No patient in need of urgent medical attention is ever turned away from a Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service emergency department," Mr Pennington said.

"When the expanded Clinical Decisions Unit opens it will have 10 beds and two chairs, doubling existing capacity.

"Eight of the beds will be monitored, which enables them to be used by acute patients."

Mr Pennington said there were also many patients who presented to emergency departments with conditions that could be treated by their local GP.

Topics:  health hospitals ramping



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