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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Cairns region’s hospital emergency departments swamped by critical care patients

    New figures have revealed the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) had the third highest number of critical care emergency patients in Queensland this year.

    Between January and November, the health service treated 128,860 patients, a 7.38% increase on the same period in 2017.

    The number of presentations deemed complex and urgent climbed by almost 20%, to 1,831.

    Acting Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr Richard Jackman, said only two metropolitan areas in the state had higher figures. 

    “These are patients that have complex and urgent problems requiring immediate, critical care,” he said.

    “We have the third highest number of category one presentations in Queensland, after the Metro South and Gold Coast Health Services.”

    The figures boost the case for Cairns Hospital to be granted level six status through the combination of tertiary level public health services, teaching and research. 

    CHHHS’s Executive Director Cairns Services, Tina Chinery, said despite the added pressure, the patients who presented to EDs were seen to in a timely manner.

    “In all our emergency departments, category one patients were seen immediately, and category two patients had a median wait time of six minutes,” she said.

    “This is well under the recommended time of 10 minutes, and shows to how hard our staff are working.”

    The health service is reminding people that EDs shouldn’t be the first option for treatment in non-urgent cases.