Cairns health budget black hole putting lives at risk

Cairns health budget black hole putting lives at risk

MEDIA RELEASE  13 MARCH 2019:  More paramedics are needed in Cairns to maintain on-road ambulance services to cover Cairns Hospital’s under-resourced Emergency Department, according to United Voice, the union representing Queensland Ambulance Officers

The problem is being felt most acutely in the Cairns Operations Centre with Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) reporting that they’re struggling to assign crews to attend emergencies during periods of peak demand for services.

Cairns EMD and United Voice Delegate Michelle Mantgaris said the problem was getting worse.

“There are times when we have members of the community on the line with serious emergencies and we struggle to assign Ambulance units to help these people while they’re queued up outside the ED with patients still on board waiting for admission.”

“Ramping is very distressing and it’s a lot to endure, especially when you know it wouldn’t be this way if the ED and other departments of Cairns Hospital were adequately funded,” she said.

“The problem has got worse, particularly in the last year. It’s getting to the point where lives are being put at risk because ambulances can’t attend emergencies as quickly as they could.”

United Voice Queensland Secretary Gary Bullock said employing more paramedics out on the road would ensure a greater degree of public safety.

“We’re calling on the State Government to fund 250 extra positions across the state to make sure ambulance officers can do their job of swiftly attending to Queenslanders in need,” he said.

“The situation in Cairns is diabolical. The local hospital board has run the place into the ground, and the Federal LNP Government has ripped millions out of its budget.

“Resourcing is a reality the State Government has been forced to address because the Morrison Government has left a $316.1 million black hole in health funding from Queensland hospitals.

“We don’t want any more buck passing. The State Government needs to step in and fill the funding hole left by the Morrison Government. It needs to fund more ambulance officer positions immediately to relieve this pressure and get our paramedics back out where they belong.”