BUSY: Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Debbie Carroll says staff are doing all they can.
BUSY: Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Debbie Carroll says staff are doing all they can. Max Fleet BUN230114ADA11

Parents angry at lack of x-rays

BUNDABERG Hospital's Emergency department was the centre of a social media storm this week after concerns were posted about the health service online.

Parents Jason and Kylie Porter asked on Facebook page Bundaberg Forum Uncensored: "How can Bundaberg base hospital turn away a 13-year-old boy who was told he needs a x-ray on his arm by the Housecall Doctor?

"We go there to get the x-ray and the nurse said he won't be getting one tonight they are flat out.”

The post set off a long debate with people sharing their views, both negative and positive, about services at the hospital.

One poster going by the name of Sramblers Roost wasn't happy.

"They did the same to me with my two-year old on a Sunday,” the post read.

"Didn't want to waste time x-raying. just squeezed her arm.

"Went to my doc Monday. Emergency x-ray sorted. Turns out both bones broken in wrist.”

Others were more sympathetic to hospital staff saying they were over worked and under-resourced

Leesa Smith said she had a pre-booked appointment and waited 2.5 hours to get into due to emergencies.

"It is a hospital after all and they do run on the triage system,” Leesa said.

"They are doing the best they can while being understaffed, overworked and inundated with emergencies.

"I'm sorry you were turned away, but they really are doing what they can.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Debbie Carroll said the hospital had full confidence in the entire emergency department team, which operates in a challenging and high-pressure environment.

She said during October the emergency department treated 4211 patients, an average of 135 a day.

"So far during November we have continued to be busy, with some days exceeding 170 presentations,” Ms Carroll said.

"Patients often do not present at a steady rate, with peaks and troughs throughout the day and night.”

"While all patients presenting to Bundaberg Hospital's emergency department are seen as quickly as possible, those who present with more urgent conditions are treated sooner.

"Those patients triaged in less urgent categories are more likely to wait extended periods of time.”

She said 78% of emergency patients received treatment within the set waiting times in October.

"Waiting times are influenced not only by number of presentations, but by the triage level, so patients in higher triage categories may require more resources, including staff, ” Ms Carroll said.

It was revealed Bundaberg Hospital does not provide a 24-hour imaging service.

An after-hours service for "urgent x-rays and CT scans” is provided through an on-call radiographer and an arrangement with a radiology provider for urgent medical images.

"Non-urgent scans are not performed after hours and the patient involved either stays overnight or receives an outpatient referral to return to the hospital at an alternative time for a scan,” Ms Carroll said.

While not disclosing the number of doctors and nurses rostered at night or day to the NewsMail, Ms Carroll said staffing arrangements for the emergency department were "appropriate”.

"Bundaberg Hospital has a busy emergency department and we encourage everyone to consider whether or not they really need to attend the ED,” Ms Carroll said.

"We will never turn anyone away, but we do ask for people's patience if they are required to wait for longer periods as more urgent cases are treated.”

How it works

TRIAGE is the process of determining the order of patients' treatment based on severity of condition.

Patients triage according to Queensland Health guidelines.

Category 1: Immediately life-threatening. Patient should be seen within two minutes of arriving.

Category 2: Imminently life-threatening. Patient should be seen within 10 minutes of arriving.

Category 3: Potentially life-threatening. Patient should be seen within 30 minutes of arriving.

Category 4: Potentially serious. Patient should be seen within 60 minutes of arriving.

Category 5: Less urgent. Patient should be seen within 120 minutes.

On arrival at the emergency department, a triage nurse will assess a patient and determine their triage category. Patients then wait until a member of the medical team is ready. If at any time their condition changes their triage category can be reassessed.

Patients are triaged according to the urgency of their condition, not in the order they present.

Patients also present via the ambulance or the LifeFlight helicopter.

These patients are a higher priority triage.



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