NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Ted Sorensen, Hervey Bay MP, outside the emergency department of Hervey Bay Hospital.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Ted Sorensen, Hervey Bay MP, outside the emergency department of Hervey Bay Hospital. Cody Fox

'I TOLD YOU SO': Bay MP sick of waiting for fix at hospital

WHEN it comes to reports that patients are waiting too long to be seen at Hervey Bay Hospital, Ted Sorensen says it is a case of "I told you so”.

The Hervey Bay MP, a long-time campaigner for funding at the hospital, believes the emergency department is straining under pressure without enough resources.

"The staff up there are just under so much pressure it is unbelievable, and that new ED building should have beds on the third floor and there is nothing there,” he said.

"The amount of patients transferred out of this area is ridiculous.”

Mr Sorensen spoke to the Chronicle after his party's leader, Deb Frecklington, yesterday condemned the State Government's management of hospital emergency departments.

Ms Frecklington pointed to August statistics, showing Hervey Bay Hospital had 1031 patients - 28 per cent of ED patients - not seen by a doctor or nurse within the clinically recommended time.

Maryborough Hospital had 512 patients, also 28 per cent of ED patients, not seen in time.

The statistics came as no surprise to Mr Sorensen, who has spoken in Parliament more than once about wait times at the hospital, including at the Townsville sitting on September 5.

Mr Sorensen said some of the most common complaints to come through his office were from elderly patients being transferred "unnecessarily” to Sunshine Coast and Brisbane hospitals, which were inaccessible for their partners and families.

"I get complaints about the hospital service every week,” he said.

"And it is not the staff's fault, they are doing an amazing job and I feel sorry for them, I really do.”

Responding to Mr Sorensen's criticism, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service acting chief executive Debbie Carroll said a spike in patient numbers was behind the wait times.

She said in August, which was often one of the busiest months of the year, departments across the Wide Bay experienced significant spikes, both in patient presentation numbers and complexity of cases. This put extra pressure on clinical teams.

"Despite that, the vast majority of our patients were seen on time, and either admitted or discharged within the four-hour target time,” she said.

"Providing top-quality health care to our community is our number one priority, and we're proud of all of our emergency teams for their hard work and the excellent service they deliver every day.”

At Hervey Bay Hospital, there was a 17 per cent overall increase in patient presentations compared to August last year, including significant increases in the three most urgent categories.

The highest was Category 1 patients, which had a 58 per cent increase.

"This growth in the most urgent kinds of presentations is a challenge because these patients require more clinical resources, meaning those with less urgent presentations may need to wait longer,” Ms Carroll said.

"Despite this surge in demand, 72 per cent of our patients were seen within their clinically recommended time frames and our median wait time across all five categories was just 18 minutes.”

At Maryborough Hospital, there was a 2 per cent overall increase in presentations compared to August 2018.