QH supports Gympie ambulance use

QUEENSLAND Health has defended Gympie Hospital’s use of ambulances to transport patients about 200 metres to and from Southern Cross X-Ray Service.

“Ambulances are only used to transport patients when clinically appropriate,” Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District southern cluster manager Jackie Hanson said.

“If an emergency department patient or an in-patient is mobile and can travel in a standard car, they are transported by a hospital car or by taxi.

“Patients with mobility problems or who require continuing care such as oxygen therapy are not clinically suitable for transport in a standard car and are transported by the QAS.”

But LNP Member for Gympie David Gibson said he put the question of ambulance use to the Minister as a result of feedback from staff he met during the recent Queensland Ambulance Service week visit to the Gympie Station.

“It was raised with me that it wasn’t the best use of resources to have an ambulance and trained paramedics transporting 200 metres from the Gympie Hospital to an X-ray service nearby,” Mr Gibson said.

A department of community safety spokesperson has since said in the 2009-10 financial year ambulance resources completed 441 transports between Gympie Hospital and the x-ray service.

“This constitutes 6.14 per cent of total QAS workload in Gympie,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Gibson said it was another example of an ambulance system facing mismanagement under a Labor Government.

“For each 200-metre trip, you involve an ambulance vehicle and two highly-trained paramedics which are no longer available to respond immediately to a call. You have to ask yourself is this the most effective way to utilise these resources?

“The union representing paramedics is raising concerns about the government failing to address urgent fatigue issues within the QAS and ambulance officers are paying the price. We could free up more than six per cent of their workload in Gympie by undertaking simple measures.”

Mr Gibson said he would raise the idea to purchase a decommissioned ambulance to transport patients to the x-ray facilities.

Gympie Times

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