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  • Plan to ease ambulance ramping unveiled after deaths

    Author: AAP

Crisis talks have led to Queensland Health adopting a five-point, $20 million plan to address ambulance ramping after two people died in as many days.

Emergency department bosses came together on Friday to discuss ways to support staff, with the latest ambulance data revealing patients had waited almost 10 hours for a hospital bed.

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Health Minister Shannon Fentiman called the meeting barely a week after grandfather Wayne Irving, 67, died following a three-hour wait in an ambulance outside Ipswich hospital, west of Brisbane.

The next day Cath Groom was found dead in her Brisbane home by family on what would have been her 52nd birthday after paramedics failed to arrive the previous evening.

Ms Fentiman announced an initial $20 million investment for the plan that aimed to hire more triage nurses and improve hospital medical imaging access.

A "medical commander" role will be created for a doctor who will help manage patient flow at each hospital.

The health minister will also meet weekly with the acting director-general and senior clinicians to help implement the new measures.

She said the initial initiatives would be progressed immediately after the "incredibly productive" meeting with frontline clinicians and hospital executives.

"These are some good key initial outcomes of the meeting," Ms Fentiman said.

"I want to make sure we're doing everything we can to better manage patient flow and support our clinicians."

The number of triage and waiting room nurses will be increased "immediately" so ambulances can offload patients more quickly to emergency departments.

"We haven't determined the number yet," Ms Fentiman said of the nurse increase.

The plan will also expand rapid access clinics and surgical assessment units so people can enter hospital without having to present at the ED.

Other initiatives are funding GPs to employ patient care facilitators to ensure there are no unnecessary hospitalisations and increasing access to medical imaging after hours on weekends.

Ms Fentiman will meet up again with the frontline clinician group in a couple of months.

She said this week there was "no silver bullet" for ambulance ramping as the latest data was revealed.

Ramping figures for May to September showed the longest time it took to offload a patient was nine hours and 54 minutes at Ipswich hospital in June.

Wait times at Logan hospital blew out to more than eight hours in June, July and September.

Lengthy delays were also experienced at Brisbane's Mater Hospital, Redlands and Queensland Elizabeth II Hospital.

The Queensland Ambulance Service is the country's busiest, responding to 1.2 million incidents a year.


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