More than 20 per cent of people who were taken to the Mackay Base Hospital ED spent 30 minutes or more on a stretcher.
More than 20 per cent of people who were taken to the Mackay Base Hospital ED spent 30 minutes or more on a stretcher. Jason Dougherty

Mackay patients impacted by ED-wait times

MORE than 870 patients who arrived by ambulance at Mackay Base Hospital last month spent over half an hour waiting on stretchers.

LNP Shadow Minister for Health Ros Bates has labelled Queensland's ramping numbers a "crisis" as statewide figures reach their worst since November 2017.

The ramping rate at Mackay Base Hospital sat at nine per cent in January 2017. Since November 2017 it's risen by 11 per cent.

A month by month comparison shows the rate at the Base dropped by one per cent between June and July this year.

Mackay Health and Hospital Service acting chief executive Marc Warner said emergency service demand had increased across the Mackay HHS region.

In 2018-19 emergency departments had 87,594 patients, an increase of 5263 or 6.4 per cent compared to preceding year.


>Man banned from music festival over drugs tried to hug cop

>REVEALED: The six mega projects set to shape our region

>Mackay patients impacted by ED-wait times

The service had also experienced increased demand in "the most complex and urgent presentations, those requiring resuscitation or critical care", Mr Warner said.

These category one and two presentations jumped 5.6 percent.

Queensland Health statistics show no category one patients and fewer than 30 category two patients were 'ramped' for longer than the recommended wait times of two and 10 minutes for each respective category in July.

Ramping rates in February 2015 and January 2017 were at three and nine per cent.

Mr Warner said emergency staff were dedicated to patient care and worked "incredibly hard" to care for patients. The Base hospital's ED was one of the top performers in the state.

"Emergency staff work closely with their ambulance colleagues to ensure patients are transferred to the most appropriate area for care," he said.

"We will always see the sickest patients first, whether they arrive by ambulance or private vehicle.

"For some, this means immediate transfer to a treatment bay, for others it means diversion to the waiting room."

The time taken to transfer a patient from an ambulance stretcher to a treatment bay varied depending on presentation numbers and the status of each patient, Mr Warner said.

"All patients who arrive by ambulance are taken into the main emergency department to be triaged - no one stays in the back of an ambulance," he said.

"When we have surges in activity, such as multiple patients from a car accident, or flu presentations, this means less seriously unwell people will wait longer.

"Patients who are on an ambulance stretcher still receive a high level of care by paramedics or clinical staff and can be assured they are in the best of hands."