Emergency department shake-up

MEMBER for Gympie David Gibson has defended his government's plans to stop Gympie Hospital from diverting ambulances to other hospitals when it is full.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg last week released a Queensland Health-commissioned report on ramping, where patients are left on stretchers on hospital ambulance ramps while they wait to be treated in crowded emergency departments.

Mr Gibson yesterday said Gympie residents can expect a shake-up of the way ambulances and hospitals manage patients seeking emergency treatment.

He said the report would impact upon Gympie and Nambour hospitals and was a significant step towards better patient access to emergency departments.

The LNP Government will adopt all 15 recommendations of the report, he said.

"Implementation of this report will spell an end to hospital bypass in January 2013.

"At the moment, hospitals can declare a bypass situation and divert ambulances carrying patients with non-life threatening conditions to another hospital.

"For someone travelling from Gympie to Nambour Hospital this could be life threatening."

Mr Gibson said the report made it clear: "simply going on bypass is an unacceptable way to manage demand on emergency departments".

"No hospital will have the authority to divert ambulances to another hospital once the recommendations have been fully implemented," he said.

"There needs to be a whole-of-hospital approach to properly address ambulance ramping and hospital bypass through better flow of hospital patients.

"The recommendations in the Metropolitan Emergency Department Access Initiative report will enable this whole-of-hospital approach to improve patient access."

"Triage must occur on arrival once the new arrangements are in place so the patients of Queensland are not left waiting hours before receiving care.

"By adopting a whole-of-hospital approach, we will be improving the efficiency of our facilities and delivering faster and more appropriate care to local communities."

A copy of the report is available at www.health.qld.gov.au.

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