Abdominal pains, chest pain and viral infections were the top three reasons for 15,117 presentations to Gold Coast Health emergency departments during July 2019.
Medical Director of Emergency Medicine Associate Professor David Green said demand for emergency care across Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Hospital and the children’s emergency department at Gold Coast University Hospital continues to grow with the service caring for around 500 people a day.
Presentations at Gold Coast Health emergency departments have increased by 5 per cent in July 2019 compared to July 2018 and this demand significantly exceeds population growth.
The median wait time across all five categories was only 21 minutes.
“There were some instances of longer ED waits for Category 3 cases, however it should be noted that we also saw an extra 343 Category 1 and Category 2 presentations in comparison to July 2018. These cases are the most urgent and take more time to treat than categories 3, 4 and 5,” Dr Green said.
“Demand for our services continues to grow, so we must find innovative ways to meet our targets and the needs of the Gold Coast community.
“We are constantly reflecting and innovating our work practices to ensure efficiencies in our models of care and staffing to make sure our doctors and nurses are the best equipped to continue caring to Gold Coasters in a medical emergency.”
In recent weeks, a short-term additional ward has been created at Robina Hospital with seven treatment areas for low-risk patients awaiting diagnostic test results.
Before deciding to come to the emergency department, patients can phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), to speak with a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The nurse will be able to provide advice about the symptoms someone is experiencing, and whether they should seek treatment at a pharmacy, GP, or go to their nearest hospital ED. In an emergency always dial 000.
Demand for elective surgery also continues to rise. Gold Coast Health treated 1571 elective surgery patients during July 2019 compared to 1435 during June – an increase of 9 per cent.
Chief Executive Ron Calvert said clinical teams, especially the orthopaedic department, deserved credit for managing the growing demand.