A reader has taken a photo of what appears to be ambulance ramping at Hervey Bay Hospital.
A reader has taken a photo of what appears to be ambulance ramping at Hervey Bay Hospital. Contributed

Ramping still an issue in Hervey Bay, says ambulance union

HERVEY Bay Hospital's new Critical Decisions Unit has offered little relief to the ramping issue, according to ambulance union officials, who have reported up to 10 instances since September 13.

Following concerns raised by ALP candidate Tony Gubbins in a letter to the editor in the Chronicle, representitives from ambulance union United Voice revealed recent ramping examples, including one where a single officer was charged with looking after five patients at one time while another patient was made to wait up to five hours.

However, Member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen has dismissed the claims as "stupid games" by the union.

"The unions have backed up the cars to make it look good," he said, referring to a photo printed in Monday's Chronicle.

United Voice delegate, local officer Roy Grover said the CDU extension had offered little improvement.

"Officers are under strain. If you're having a super busy day and not getting nourishment and fluid then you're not operating at 100% and mistakes can be made," he said.

"The ambulance service and the health minister and the hospital services can come out and claim it was a spike in demand or a busy period of the day - yes we did have a very busy day - but these are becoming the norm." ."

A representative for Queensland Ambulance Service said while they could not confirm the examples of ramping, they did admit there was an increased demand on those dates.

"On the dates in question, there were periods of increased ambulance demand. During this period, QAS was working closely with the senior staff at HBH to minimise any anticipated delays in the release of ambulances from the ED," the representative said.

"That said, ambulances can be parked at hospitals for a number of reasons. It is entirely appropriate that paramedics continue to provide care and monitor patients to ensure patient safety and continuity of care until an appropriate handover can be undertaken.

"Ambulances that are parked at hospitals may still be capable of responding to emergencies as required."

Wide Bay Health & Hospital service said the 12 extra beds introduced as part of the $900,000 CDU upgrade would logically reduce ramping.

WBHHS chief operating officer Debbie Carroll said the refurbishment and redevelopment of wards in Maryborough Hospital would soon allow load sharing between the hospitals.