Emergency wards under ‘enormous pressure’
Almost one million people used Queensland's bursting emergency departments during the first five months of 2019 - a whopping 35 per cent increase on the same period last year.
An unprecedented flu season is being blamed for contributing to the staggering figure as Queensland grapples with an increasing number of cases that are landing people in hospital.
Between January and May, 854,729 people presented to EDs across the state - an increase of 224,084 on the same period last year.
In May alone, there were 173,871 presentations which equates to about 5608 people each day.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington seized on the figures, claiming the government was in the midst of another "hospital crisis".
"In the midst of another hospital crisis, Annastacia Palaszczuk has made more excuses and failed to take responsibility," she said.
"Labor needs to stop blaming everyone but themselves and fix the hospital crisis."
The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed patients at the Princess Alexandra Hospital were being forced to undergo medical procedures in packed corridors, as the Government grappled with ambulance ramping.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Steven Miles both defended the services being delivered at the PA Hospital and by paramedics.
"It's actually happening right across Australia," the Premier said.
"We are seeing an unprecedented flu season that is putting enormous pressure on our emergency departments."
Mr Miles told The Courier-Mail that despite the increase in demand, the median wait time to be seen in an ED across all categories was about 15 minutes.
"In the last four days alone the Queensland Ambulance Service has responded to more than 5000 Code 1 cases, the majority being in the southeast corner," he said.
"Our hardworking paramedics, nurses, doctors and clinicians are saving more lives than ever before.
"We are experiencing an unprecedented flu season.
"That's why we have boosted our Winter Bed Strategy by $3.5 million to a $20 million investment - double the usual investment."
Mr Miles said the number of flu diagnoses for this year was four times higher than the average for the same time across the last five years.