If individual hospitals and health services deem a pause in elective surgery to be necessary, then it is the College’s position that a pause should be as brief as possible, to not considerably impact long-term health outcomes and associated increase in demand for care that may result.
Queensland members are reporting to the College that emergency departments (EDs) are experiencing the worst conditions to date, and that there may be extensive waits for care.
However, medical emergencies will always be prioritised. Patients presenting at EDs for care will be triaged, and care must always be provided to people who are most ill or injured first.
The College strongly urges all people to remain patient. Healthcare workers are working as hard as they can to provide care and are often prevented from doing so by a system that is considerably understaffed and over capacity.
The College encourages all people living or visiting in Queensland to undertake all reasonable measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, influenza and other viruses, including being up to date with all eligible vaccinations.
Most people with these viruses will be able to care for themselves or loved ones at home, and, in the case of mild illness, the College encourages people to seek out resources and care in the community.
The College has long been drawing attention to the dangerous systemic issues that lead to access block, emergency department overcrowding, ambulance ramping, a lack of workforce sustainability and poorer patient outcomes, including avoidable deaths.
The only genuine solution to these issues is in significantly increasing capacity, and by improving patient flow out of EDs and into hospital wards, or into appropriate community-based care.
To that end, ACEM welcomes the Queensland Government’s recent announcement of $355.8 million towards the addition of approximately 257 extra beds to the Brisbane health system by 2026, and the larger Queensland Health and Hospitals Plan that aims to provide 2,509 more in-patient beds over six years.
When delivered and properly staffed, ACEM believes that this capacity increase will significantly improve systemic issues and enable the provision of better acute healthcare for all Queenslanders.
To achieve health equity across Queensland, the College urges the government to ensure investments are also delivered in rural, regional and remote areas.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857