By Aaron Goodwin
The Palaszczuk Government is investing an extra $163.7 million to create 351 new beds across Queensland’s hospital network.
As part of the funding, 12 new beds will be added across the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Network.
A Department of Health spokesperson saying the details of where and when the beds will be rolled out are being worked through.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 351 new beds would help to tackle unprecedented demand in the public health system at a time when resources are also being prioritised for Queensland’s pandemic response.
“The health of all Queenslanders is my government’s greatest priority,” the Premier said.
“This pandemic has tested our health system. And with the delta strain now posing a significant threat to Queensland, we’re not out of the woods yet.
“Increasing capacity at our health services will ensure we can relieve pressure on some of the state’s busiest hospitals.
“This additional $163.7 million investment means 351 new beds through a combination of additional public hospital beds and the commissioning of beds from the private sector.
“These 351 beds represent the equivalent of delivering a major new hospital similar in size to Queensland Children’s Hospital.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said Queensland’s health system was experiencing stronger demand for services than ever before.
“Activity across Queensland’s public hospital network is at an all-time high,” she said.
“Our doctors, nurses, paramedics and allied health workers are treating more patients than ever as we fight the deadliest global pandemic in a century.
“Delivering new beds at this time of peak demand will help to ensure Queenslanders can continue to access the quality health care they need.
“Today’s announcement comes on top of the extra $100 million we’ve committed to fund new initiatives to relieve pressure on our busy emergency departments.
“All up, our $263.7 million commitment will deliver 416 new hospital beds throughout Queensland.
“This is all about supporting better ambulance response times and getting Queenslanders into hospital beds quicker.
“It will also target initiatives to improve patient flow, enhance ED access and expand the surgery connect program.”
The extra hospital beds will delivered in Hospital and Health Services where demand for services is greatest:
-Cairns and Hinterland – 8 new beds
-Darling Downs – 44 new beds
-Gold Coast – 28 new beds
-Mackay – 8 new beds
-Metro North – 68 new beds
-Metro South – 80 new beds
-Sunshine Coast – 36 new beds
-Townsville – 10 new beds
-West Moreton – 57 new beds
Queensland’s public hospitals are also delivering increased elective surgery activity amid unprecedented demand for health services and a deadly global pandemic.
Ms D’Ath said Queensland’s public hospitals carried out 37,187 elective surgery procedures in the June quarter, up from 36,781 the previous quarter.
“This represents an increase of 37.8 percent compared to the same period last year, which is an outstanding performance during a once-in-a-century pandemic,” Ms D’Ath said.
“The number of patients waiting longer than clinically recommended for elective surgery is also falling.
“As of July 1, there were 629 long wait elective surgery patients, down from 1,574 the previous quarter and 5,166 in May 2020.
“There are also more Queenslanders receiving an initial outpatient appointment.