Over half of visits to hospital for non-urgent conditions

MORE than half of Gladstone Hospital emergency department visits are made for non-urgent conditions.

In the past 12 months there were 28,633 presentations made to the emergency department, with 15,615 of them defined as category 4 and 5, or non-urgent.

Queensland Health defines category 4 patients as potentially serious patients who should be seen within an hour of arriving at the ED.

Category 5 patients are considered even less urgent and should be seen within two hours of arriving.

In July, about 1100 patients presented to the Gladstone Hospital emergency department as category 4 and 5 patients.

The figures come as Gladstone's health comgmunity unites as part of the Rio Tinto Here for Health initiative.

The committee was formed in December and has been working to solve some of the region's healthcare woes.

The problems include an over-reliance on the hospitals to provide after-hours healthcare services and a lack of doctors in the region.

Last month the Gladstone GP Super Clinic opened to the public to ease pressures faced by the Gladstone Hospital emergency department.

The Super Clinic has since been inundated with appointments and patients are being turned away.

Mater Hospital executive officer Peter Comerford said one solution to reducing the number of category 4 and 5 patients may involve building a triage or GP clinic at the Mater Hospital.

"The hospitals were set up to share," he said.