Ambo wait times blow out again under Palaszczuk Govt

 

Queenslanders needing life-threatening medical help are waiting more than 18 minutes, with the ambulance service never meeting its category one response targets since the Palaszczuk Government was elected.

Newly-released figures show the wait time for 90 per cent of Code 1 emergencies increased by more than a minute last year and, at 18 minutes and 24 seconds, is now two minutes more than it should be.

The target of 16-and-a-half minutes hasn't been met since 2014-15.

The revelations have led to calls for more resources and warnings that delays have real consequences.

Queenslanders in a medical emergency are waiting more than 18 minutes for an ambulance as response times blow out. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Queenslanders in a medical emergency are waiting more than 18 minutes for an ambulance as response times blow out. Picture: Kevin Farmer

But the government has blamed escalating demand, which the state's auditor-general warned over seven years ago.

The Queensland Ambulance Service is also not meeting its targets to respond to 50 per cent of those jobs within 8 minutes and 12 seconds, instead taking an average of 9 minutes and 24 seconds, the latest Report on Government Services shows.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said the news should concern every Queenslander.

"It means your child having an asthma attack, your father having a heart attack or your grandmother who just broke her hip is waiting longer for an ambulance to respond," she said.

The LNP says hospital ramping is causing delays in responding to medical emergencies.
The LNP says hospital ramping is causing delays in responding to medical emergencies.

Ms Bates blamed hospital ramping for tying up precious ambulances.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said Queensland had seen a 24 per cent increase in demand since 2014-15 and last year responded to 417,677 Code 1 incidents - the highest number ever.

"Against this increasing demand, QAS Code 1 response times are better than comparable jurisdictions like New South Wales and Victoria," Ms D'Ath said, thanking paramedics who were dealing with increasingly complex cases.

"In the most critical Code 1A incidents, paramedics achieved response times of 7.5 minutes at the 50th percentile and 14.3 minutes at the 90th percentile - well inside the respective targets of 8.2 minutes and 16.5 minutes."

The Auditor-General warned as early as 2014 that the demand for ambulance services was outstripping population growth and was a "pressing issue" that required a whole-of-government response.

Ms D'Ath said the QAS workforce had grown from 3222 in 2014-15 to 4000 by June 2020 and 475 more world be hired over the next four years.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Dan Peled
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Dan Peled

United Workers Union national ambulance co-ordinator Fiona Scanlon defended her members but called for more resources.

"The skills used by ambulance officers to triage and prioritise cases ensures that those who need immediate assistance get it," she said.

"With population growth and increasing demand for health services, United Workers Union advocates strongly for staffing to increase year on year."

Queensland paramedics treated 1.15 million people last year - more than any other state in Australia.

Ninety-one per cent of triple-zero calls were answered within 10 seconds.

Originally published as Ambo wait times blow out again under Palaszczuk Govt


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