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Central West health staff, services celebrated for five-year achievements

30 July 2021

A five-year snapshot of Central West Hospital and Health Service highlights the achievements of hospitals and staff in managing significant increases in emergency department presentations and surgeries.

Queensland Health Director General Dr John Wakefield said several factors, including population growth, aging population, falling private health insurance rates, and more recently, the global pandemic, were responsible for the high demand on health services.

“COVID-19 has had a severe impact on our hospitals in the past 18 months,” Dr Wakefield said.

“Whilst we have been successful in minimising community transmission of COVID-19, it was necessary to divert significant staffing into our public health response, testing, tracking and tracing, hotel quarantine, and mass vaccination”.

“There has also been a continued surge in demand for public health services over the past five years, including an extraordinary rise in emergency department presentations and referrals to specialist outpatient services”.

“We are also performing more surgeries as the state’s rate of chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and heart disease goes up. A growing number of Queenslanders are also ditching their private health insurance and turning to the public health system for treatment.

“While we have significantly increased funding and hired more staff to support both our pandemic response and the everyday delivery of healthcare, it’s no secret the pressure placed on our facilities has been immense.

“In spite of the constant pressure of dealing with unstoppable demand growth, our staff work 24/7 and do an amazing job in providing world class healthcare to all Queenslanders, no matter where they live.

“I commend and celebrate Central West HHS’s hard-working staff and the health services for these achievements.”

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the health service’s performance was due entirely to the dedication and commitment of its staff.

“Our staff have worked hard over the years in the Central West to develop and expand our primary health care services throughout our region,’’ she said.

“The aim of primary health services is to look after people and prevent the need for them to have to attend hospital in the first place.

“The success of our primary health care programs is reflected in the reductions we have seen in emergency department presentations and the need for surgical interventions across our health service over the past years.’’

Between 2015-16 and 2020-21 Central West HHS hospitals reported:

  • Continued to manage more than 9,000 emergency department presentations each year.
  • Continued to perform more than 250 surgeries each year.
  • 58 per cent increase in outpatient appointments (from more than 12,770 to more than 20,240)
  • Continued to deliver more than 50 babies each year.

In the same period, Central West HHS’s annual operating budget had increased from $62 million to more than $86 million, a 38 per cent growth.

The HHS’s total workforce has grown from 333 to 376 people (a 13 per cent increase), including 21 to 24 doctors and 142 to 148 nurses.

Quarterly performance data for Central West Hospital and Health Service has been released today, available on the website here.

Last updated: 30 July 2021