Mackay Hospital and Health Service emergency doctors have been smashed as record numbers of people present for help.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service emergency doctors have been smashed as record numbers of people present for help.

Hospital EDs smashed as record numbers of people seek help

Emergency medical staff are being smashed as record numbers of people attend Mackay Base Hospital for help.

The number of people presenting to the hospital's emergency department had jumped by more than 40 people per day in 12 months.

Of the 13,588 patients who attended within the December 2020 quarter, 8937 were in the most serious categories while 4651 were classified category four and five.

All patients listed at category one and 95.5 per cent of category two patients were seen within clinically recommended times.

This dipped to 77.8 per cent and 85.4 per cent of category three and four patients.

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Data showed 95.4 per cent of category five patients were seen within the recommended times.

The average wait time for a patient within the Mackay Hospital and Health Service was 14 minutes.

Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin
Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin


MHHS chief executive Lisa Davies Jones said the hospital was experiencing high demand with record numbers of people attending the emergency department and being admitted to hospital.

"Demand has increased across the board with more traumas, more seriously unwell people and increased mental health presentations," Ms Davies Jones said.

"In the 2019-20 financial year Mackay Base Hospital emergency department had an average of 137 presentations a day. This financial year we are seeing up to 180 presentations a day.

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"We have recruited more senior medical officers and now have three nurse practitioners in emergency to help to meet the growing demand.

"We are asking people with less serious conditions to see their GP if possible."

Data revealed there had been 8195 presentations to emergency departments across the state for attention to surgical dressings and sutures, 2525 for splinters and 3358 for medical certificates and repeat prescriptions.



There were also 559 presentations for nail disorders such as an ingrown nail, 377 for fractures loose or impacted teeth, 358 for muscle cramps and spasms and 180 for sunburns.

Other non urgent emergency departments presentations across the state included blisters, contraceptive management, acne and hiccups.

"All patients attending our emergency department are treated, however we prioritise patients according to their clinical need," Ms Davies Jones said.

"If you are unsure whether you need to come to emergency, please call 13 HEALTH and speak to a registered nurse for advice. Pharmacists are also able to help with some conditions."

Ms Davies Jones paid tribute to those who worked in the emergency departments across MHHS.

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"I would like to publicly thank everyone who works in emergency, including the administration and support service staff who are part of the team needed," she said.

"The ED is a very busy place and our team deserves enormous credit for managing the growing demand we are experiencing, often in very difficult situations."