Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president says Redland Hospital wait times are inhumane

AT REDLANDS: Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Simon Judkins and Queensland faculty chair Kim Hansen visit Redland Hospital. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough
AT REDLANDS: Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Simon Judkins and Queensland faculty chair Kim Hansen visit Redland Hospital. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

MEDICAL experts say patients are subjected to inhumane situations at Redland Hospital with about 90 people each month waiting longer than 24 hours in the emergency department.

Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Simon Judkins said the majority of those were mental health patients.

After visiting Redland and Logan hospitals on Wednesday with ACEM Queensland faculty chair Kim Hansen, Dr Judkins said one patient had been waiting almost three days in an emergency department.

Dr Judkins said that anyone in the health care system from clinicians to chief executive officers to the health minister should realise such waits were unacceptable.

"You've got somebody who's psychologically vulnerable and you ask them to sit in a hallway in a chair for three days while they're waiting for a bed," Dr Judkins said.

"That's completely intolerable."

In response, Health Minister Steven Miles said Metro South hospitals like Redland and Logan were in one of Queensland's fastest growing corridors.

"Each year they are treating more patients with more complex health needs than ever before," Dr Miles said.

"Despite this, the latest hospital performance data shows 100 per cent of the most critically ill patients who presented to Metro South emergency departments were seen within two minutes."

Dr Hansen said emergency department staff were stressed about the wait times.

"They tell us they can't sleep at night after a difficult shift seeing those patients in the corridor, seeing all the patients in the waiting room that they haven't had a chance to see," she said.

Dr Hansen said Redland Hospital had a big emergency department but was a smaller hospital, transferring a significant number of patients to other hospitals.

"There's no intensive care here so the emergency doctors are doing intensive care not only for their own patients but everyone on the Redlands wards as well," she said.

Dr Judkins said lengthy wait times in an emergency department could have repercussions that led to longer hospital stays.

"The whole system becomes less and less efficient because of all those delays," he said.

"You've got a bunch of doctors and nurses in there who are really dedicated... but they're hindered by a system that actually doesn't allow them to do the job to the best of their ability.

Dr Miles said the government had increased Redland Hospital's clinical workforce by more than 116 nurses and 28 doctors.

"On top of that, we're delivering capital improvements including an expansion to its emergency department and an upgrade to the maternity unit," he said.

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