Qld hospitals need funds overhaul: doctors

·2-min read

A capacity crisis at Queensland's public hospitals is the result of long-term under-investment and a new funding model is needed, doctors say.

Surging demand for emergency department beds in recent months has led to a spike in ambulance ramping - when patients are treated in ambulances on hospital driveways until beds become available.

More than 1.39 million people presented at hospital emergency departments between July 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, an 11.6 per cent increase over the previous period.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid says ramping is an issue in every state and territory right now.

He says a big part of the problem is a chronic under-investment in public hospitals.

"We are unable to cope with the extra demand that we're seeing right now, and of course that's pretty scary because we don't have any flu around at the moment, and we don't have any COVID that make people sick," he told ABC Radio.

"If either of those things happen, you can only imagine how our hospitals will cope."

Dr Korshid said the AMA wants national cabinet to work out a new funding model to deal with the capacity crisis in hospitals.

State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said another part of problem in Queensland is that the government doesn't publish real-time data on waiting times, bed capacity or resourcing.

He said that data was currently available under a NSW Liberal government and Western Australia's Labor government, but Queenslanders didn't have a clear picture of the issues.

"There's two jurisdictions with different political flavourings, and yet they find it in themselves to be open and honest with data, and we're going to force this government to do the same," Mr Crisafulli told reporters.

"Why is it that I can get on my phone now and I can tell you what the wait is at an emergency department in NSW, but I can't tell you what it is at the SCU (Sunshine Coast University) Hospital around the corner.

"That's not open and honest, that's not transparent, and you can't fix what you don't measure."

The government maintains that it will deliver a "record health budget" later this month to help deal with capacity issues, but it will not specify whether public health funding will increase more than inflation.