QLD children waiting too long in emergency departments

MORE than 7000 Queensland children waited too long for treatment at hospital emergency departments last month, data shows.

The latest hospital performance snapshot reveals an average of 22 per cent of kids aged 14 and under who present to the state’s emergency departments wait longer than “clinically recommended”.

This includes 19 per cent of patients triaged as category-two “imminently life-threatening”, who should be seen within 10 minutes, and 31 per cent of those deemed category-three “potentially life-threatening”.

However all category-one patients, the most seriously sick or injured, were seen within the clinically recommended time.

Data for individual hospitals shows Caboolture, Toowoomba and Redcliffe hospitals were the worst performers in October, with 35 per cent of children not seen on time.

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the state’s best performer, failed to see 23 per cent of children within the recommended timeframe.

At the Queensland Children’s Hospital, a whopping 30 per cent of emergency department patients waited too long.

The Courier-Mail revealed last month that almost every hospital across the state was failing to meet critical benchmarks for emergency department and surgery waiting times.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the Government’s priority should be making sure our sickest kids receive the emergency care they needed.

“As a mother, it breaks my heart that we have kids with cancer and other serious health issues being treated in kitchens because of a chronic bed shortage,” she said.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman defended the data, saying the majority of children who attend Queensland’s hospitals were seen on time.

“Last month all urgent cases involving children 14 and under were seen within clinically recommended time frames,” she said.

“Queensland’s emergency department doctors and nurses work tirelessly to make sure all critically ill people are seen on time.

“They do a tremendous job of taking care of Queenslanders when they are sick.”

In 2017-18 Queensland emergency departments saw more than 1.9 million patients — an increase of 3.2 per cent over the previous year.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates, a former nurse, said Labor’s priorities were “all wrong”.

On average, of the 155,000 ED presentations across Queensland public hospitals every month, 32 per cent are ailments a GP could treat.

 

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