Hospital beds are at a critical shortage on the Fraser Coast.
Hospital beds are at a critical shortage on the Fraser Coast. Contributed

Hospital in critical state: AMA

THE Fraser Coast has a critical shortage of hospital beds, with numbers well below the national average.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd said the Fraser Coast also lacked specialist cataract services, and mental health was poorly resourced.

Dr Kidd accused Queensland Health of displaying false waiting times for referred surgery.

In a provocative move, the AMA will forward questions it has compiled regarding health policy to local candidates running for state elections.

Launching the AMA's Time for Answers campaign in Hervey Bay yesterday, Dr Kidd said local hospitals needed 53 more beds to achieve the national average of 2.6 beds per 1000 people.

AMA figures also revealed more than 120 regional cancer patients died each year because of no access to radiotherapy.

Dr Kidd said without private health insurance, sick patients in the area found it difficult to get elective surgery.

"When a GP sends in a referral letter they (Queensland Health) sit on the letter," Dr Kidd said.

"While they sit on the letter the clock hasn't started ticking.

"In Queensland the clock only starts ticking after the patient has been seen in the hospital clinic.

"To be seen in the hospital clinic can take two years."

AMA federal president Dr Steve Hambleton said the campaign put the onus on state candidates to reveal health policies.