Question without Notice to the Minister for Health, 15 September, 2021
This week the Auditor-General’s report showed that emergency department wait times have steadily increased over the last seven years under this government, with no transparent reporting about available beds or staffing. Beyond the government’s commitment for more transfer nurses, what is the government’s plan to ensure that emergency departments are equipped with the staffing they need to meet their own targets?
There is incredible pressure on our health system. As I outlined this morning, and is spelt out very clearly in the report, between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021 there were 2.4 million presentations to Queensland’s emergency departments, an increase of 15.4 per cent. That is a huge increase that we are seeing.
Some of the measures that we are taking are continuing the statewide rollout of the patient coordination hub model to improve data exchange, along with improvements to manuals and training programs to support data entry and a dashboard to detect data entry errors; resuming the statewide rollout of the digital ambulance report application; updating the HHS service agreements to include KPIs to better manage performance and accountability; greater utilisation of the Patient Access Advisory Committee by Queensland Health to analyse the effectiveness of initiatives; and finalising the completion of the ED Air project to standardise ED data definitions, develop clear clinical principles for patient care and review short stay unit and admission guidelines. This is in addition to the $100 million that was committed to and the 65 beds as part of Care4QLD phase 1 and then the $163.7 million on top of that to open up another additional 351 beds across the public and private sector.
These are the things that we have been talking about for a number of weeks now. We also have other initiatives such as the $10 million to permanently expand residential aged-care support services, $5 million to pilot targeted expansion of post-acute services to support faster and safe discharge from hospital; $4 million to support appropriate discharge of long-stay patients; $4 million to expand our mental health co-responder model and $5 million for a targeted expansion of the Transfer Initiative Nurse model.
I note the member asked what are we doing in addition to our TIN model. Let us not underestimate what that model means. These are people who train nurses who are specifically there to get patients out of ambulances and off stretchers and into EDs far quicker and to ensure that we have that smooth flow happening. These are really important roles. We know they work. We know that they can improve the flow in EDs and that is why we are expanding that across hospitals where there is the most demand.