‘Unprecedented’: The hospitals tens of millions in deficit
Queensland hospital and health services are falling millions of dollars into deficit, as new figures reveal several failed to meet their elective surgery wait time targets amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the state's 16 health services, 11 of them had deficits last financial year, with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service recording an operating deficit of $27.02 million - about $5 million worse off than the previous year.
There was a $14.823 million deficit at the Central Queensland HHS, a $10.4 million deficit at the West Moreton HHS, while the deficit at the HHS on the Gold Coast reached $11.759 million.
The Sunshine Coast HHS annual report pointed to higher-than-expected costs of delivering services during the 2019-20 financial year, and the "unprecedented challenges" in response to COVID-19.
The deficit recorded at the Central Queensland HHS was down from the $419,000 surplus it delivered in 2018-19, while the Metro North HHS notched up a $31.8 million surplus - up from $4.3 million the previous year.
The Gold Coast HHS said a large portion of its deficit was due to the increasing demand for healthcare services.
The West Moreton HHS also attributed its deficit to a range of reasons, and said it was primarily driven by the need to meet community demand while preparing for the pandemic.
While most of the hospital and health services met the 100 per cent target to attend to the most serious emergency department matters within two minutes, nine of them fell short.
There were also six health services that failed to meet any of the targets set for the percentage of elective surgery patients treated within clinically recommended time frames.
These included the Sunshine Coast, Metro North and Townsville hospital and health services.
The performance levels were impacted by non-urgent elective surgery and specialist outpatient services being temporarily suspended as part of the preparation to COVID-19.
The Gold Coast, Metro North, Metro South, Sunshine Coast and West Moreton hospital and health services also did not meet the targets set to attending to category-two and three patients in emergency departments.
Five of the health services met all of the emergency department targets, including Children's Health Queensland, South West and North West hospital and health services.
The North West Hospital and Health Service met all its elective surgery wait time targets.
Originally published as 'Unprecedented': The hospitals tens of millions in deficit