Busy June quarter for Darling Downs and South West hospitals

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
  • 54,575 patients through Darling Downs and South West hospital EDs in June quarter
  • 1,334 elective surgery patients treated in Darling Downs hospitals
  • 6,645 patients seen for an initial specialist outpatient appointment

Darling Downs Health hospitals had 47,766 patients present to emergency departments in the June 2023 quarter, which is an increase of 8.4 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2022.

In Toowoomba Hospital, there were 16,877 presentations from April to June this year.

6,809 people presented to South West hospital emergency departments in the same period.

Patients are given a triage category according to their level of clinical need, with Category 1 the sickest or most seriously injured.

100% of Category 1 patients, across the Darling Downs and South West, were seen within the clinically recommended time.

In THHHS facilities, the average wait time across all five categories was just 18 minutes.

Darling Downs Health hospitals treated 1,334 elective surgery patients in the June quarter, with 1,131 of these procedures at Toowoomba Hospital.

Overall, 85 per cent of elective surgery patients were treated within the clinically recommended time, which is an increase from the same quarter last year.

During the June 2023 quarter, 6,645 patients were seen for an initial appointment at a specialist outpatient clinic in Darling Downs, which is an increase from the previous quarter.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman:

“While we have seen some improvements, we know there is much more work to do.

“Our emergency departments managed a record number of presentations, more than 10,500 than the same quarter last year, and our patient off stretcher times remained steady, at 55 per cent.

“Despite the rapid population growth we’re experiencing, and despite being the busiest in the country, our ambulance service is doing incredible work to look after their communities.

“These improvements would not be possible without the hard work, dedication, and commitment to patient care from our health care workers, who I thank for their tireless efforts.

“I can assure Queenslanders that our $764 million Putting Patients First plan to keep Queenslanders out of hospital is bolstering our frontline health workforce and strengthening the Queensland Ambulance Service.

“It is delivering more beds and delivering the major hospital upgrades and expansions we need to provide the best health-care possible.

“The Palaszczuk Government is making the necessary investments to provide quality healthcare closer to home, for all Queenslanders.”

Quotes attributable to Darling Downs Health Chief Executive, Annette Scott:

‘We are continually impressed by the capability and compassion of our staff who deliver high-quality care every day, despite an increase in demand for our services.

“To help meet this demand we recently opened an Emergency Department expansion and added a new 17 bed ward at Toowoomba Hospital.

“We also look forward to opening the new Day Surgery complex in early 2024 as well as commencing the development of the $1.3 billion new Toowoomba Hospital, both at the Baillie Henderson campus.”

Quotes attributable to South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Dr Anthony Brown:

“A total of 6809 people were seen in emergency departments across the South West during the June quarter this year,” he said.

“The percentage of patients requiring hospitalisation, who were admitted to hospital within 4 hours across all 5 categories in the June quarter was 76 per cent.

“In regional areas like ours, this proportion can be affected by the number of patients awaiting aerial transfer to a larger hospital for more complex treatment.

“To ensure seamless and safe patient care, patients awaiting transfer elsewhere are managed in the Emergency Department until their retrieval flight arrives. This may constitute a stay of longer than 4 hours in the ED.

“Some patients may also require more than a four-hour stay while tests such as medical imaging and pathology are done to diagnose their condition.

“For patients who did not require hospitalisation, 91 per cent across all categories were seen and discharged from emergency within 4 hours during the June quarter, well above the target of 80 per cent.

“In the June quarter, a total of 239 patients received their elective surgery.

“The South West Hospital and Health Service delivers a range of specialist surgical services, both visiting and in-house, as part of its elective surgery programme management.

“Visiting specialist services available for adults and children include, orthopaedic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynaecology, general surgery and gastroenterology.

“The combination of visiting and in-house specialist services means that South West residents normally can obtain many specialist consultations within their local community, reducing the impact of having to travel or waiting longer than clinically recommended for assessment and treatment and allowing them to access care closer to home.”

/Public Release. View in full here.