LENGTHY waits on ambulance trolleys and in the emergency department at the Bundaberg Hospital are not good enough, according to LNP spokesperson for health, Mark McArdle.
In June this year, 22% of patients waited more than 15 minutes to be transferred from an ambulance stretcher to a hospital bed and 30% of patients spent more than eight hours in the emergency department.
“There is a lot of hard work to do here in Bundaberg to reduce these waiting times,” he said. “There is also the waiting list to get on the waiting list, that is the waiting list to see specialists, which is a concern.”
Mr McArdle toured the hospital yesterday with Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey, former doctor Member for Gaven Alexander Douglas and former clinical nurse Member for Mudgeeraba Ros Bates.
“I’m very impressed with the new building and work done on the hospital and I believe there must be a refurbishment to upgrade the inside,” he said.
Mr McArdle praised the staff for their efforts to improve the hospital and their work under pressure.
“Bundaberg Hospital needs to gain back the confidence from the community and then it can be a great hospital like it was 10 to 15 years ago,” he said.
Minister for Health Paul Lucas said confidence in the hospital would be greater if Mr McArdle was not “continually trashing” the hospital’s reputation.
“The staff know what a great job they do and the increase in resources at Bundaberg Hospital,” he said.
“When was the last time Mr McArdle was positive about any of the achievements of Queensland Health staff, particularly in Bundaberg?”
Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District northern cluster manager Beth Norton said the new maternity and emergency departments were proof of Queensland Health’s commitment to the hospital.
“An extended stay in the emergency department for less critical patients does not mean they are not being treated, or that they are waiting for a ward bed. Often doctors are awaiting diagnostic results such as blood tests or x-rays before determining if a patient should be admitted to hospital as an inpatient,” she said.
Ms Norton said in the 2009-2010 financial year a record number of patients received elective surgery in the state’s public hospitals.