Record surgeries, shorter ED waits as health system makes positive gains

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
  • Hospital performance data for July to September shows significant improvements across the public health system
  • More than 38,200 patients underwent elective surgery, an almost 16 per cent increase compared to the same time last year.
  • Elective surgery long waits have decreased by 40% – that’s 2,800 patients – compared to the same time last year.
  • Almost 186,000 specialist outpatient appointments were recorded.
  • Emergency department wait times also improved.

Queensland’s public hospitals have achieved an all-time record for elective surgeries completed, while also reducing wait times and recording more outpatient appointments.

The latest hospital performance data shows the state’s health system is continuing to deliver world-class healthcare despite mounting pressures, including booming demand, global workforce challenges, and increasing numbers of long-stay patients.

Queensland’s public hospitals performed elective surgery on 38,251 patients in the July-September period – 5,235 more than the same quarter last year.

Between July and September, 38,251 Queenslanders received elective surgeries in our public hospitals – the most surgeries ever delivered in a single quarter.

This significant achievement means that Queensland Health delivered 5,235 more surgeries than this time last year.

And in a promising indication that our hospitals are bouncing back from COVID, the number of patients waiting longer than clinically recommended for surgery declined by 40% to 5,540, the lowest number since December 2021.

The number of specialist outpatient appointments also improved significantly, with specialist outpatient clinics recording 185,940 appointments – a 12.2 per cent increase on the same period in 2022.

A total of 575,567 patients presented to an emergency department across Queensland during the quarter – a 3 per cent rise compared with the same period last year.

All category 1 emergency department patients – the most urgent – were seen immediately, and 73 per cent of all patients who presented to an emergency department were seen within clinically recommended times.

In the same period last year, 69 per cent of all emergency department patients were seen on time.

The median ED wait time was 15 minutes, compared to 17 minutes in the September Quarter last year.

The Code 1A ambulance response time for the latest quarter was 8.5 minutes and the lost minutes per ambulance also decreased.

However, the number of long-stay patients grew from 780 (as at 31 May 2023) to 877 (as at 30 August 2023), putting further pressure on our hospitals. In response to these increasing numbers, the Health Minister also announced $200 million over the next two years to reduce the number of long stay patients and increase hospital capacity.

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