LONG WAIT: Ralph Walker has praised Yeppoon Hospital workers and says more funding is required to staff the scanner.
LONG WAIT: Ralph Walker has praised Yeppoon Hospital workers and says more funding is required to staff the scanner. Trish Bowman

CQ man endures 22 hour wait for scan after breaking his neck

A 74-year-old Yeppoon man was forced to wait 22 hours in emergency after breaking his neck.

The delay was caused by the limited operational hours of a CT scanner at Yeppoon hospital.

Ralph Walker broke his neck when he fell into a plumbing trench in his backyard.

"I heard my neck break, it was a loud snap, and I knew something was wrong," Mr Walker said.

After the fall last week, Mr Walker was taken to Yeppoon hospital. Because it was late at night, he could not be scanned and was told he was sixth in line to go to Rockhampton hospital by ambulance.

Mr Walker needed to be transported because Yeppoon hospital's CT machine is only operational during business hours, meaning patients either have to be transported to Rockhampton for scans or wait until it becomes operational.

"My disappointment was seeing this poor nursing staff having to put up with all this rot.

"One more staff at night time in radiology, even on standby, would have been so helpful."

Once Mr Walker was first in line, he was told that there had been a change of plan and ambulances were no longer transporting patients to Rockhampton because there were already five ramped waiting for a bed to become available.

"I was lying there thinking the cost of transporting patients to and from hospitals would surely pay for a minimum staff at night-time to run one machine," he said.

"The CT machine was there and in perfect working condition.

"To me, when they go and spend 50 or $60,000 on a machine and then fail to back it up with staff to run it, is ridiculous.

"It seems silly that they spent the money and have this machinery there and no one to operate it."

For Mr Walker, who has plans to talk with community leaders and local politicians about the issue, the solution could be as simple as providing staff with adequate training.

In response to Mr Walker's suggestions, Wendy Hoey, Executive Director of Rockhampton Hospital Business Unit, said that while Yeppoon Hospital is always a busy service, the current demand for the CT scanning services at Yeppoon does not meet the need for a 24-hour service.

"Capricorn Coast Hospital and Health Service is a very busy service that works in close collaboration with Rockhampton Hospital," Ms Hoey said.

"Patients with serious injuries are transferred to Rockhampton as required, based on decisions made by the treating doctors and nurses.

"Arrangements for any medical imaging (X-rays and CT) out of hours are made as requested by the treating teams."