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Children’s Health Queensland staff, services celebrated for five-year achievements

30 July 2021

A five-year snapshot of Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service highlights the achievements of Queensland Children’s Hospital 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 Children’s Health Queensland HHS’s hard-working staff and the health services for these achievements.”

Children’s Health Queensland Health Service Chief Executive Frank Tracey said staff had worked tirelessly to establish the Queensland Children’s Hospital as the hub of a statewide network of paediatric care since 2015.

“Our dedicated teams across the hospital and health service deserve enormous credit for managing fluctuating demand and continuing to deliver exceptional, safe and timely healthcare for the state’s sickest and most critically injured kids,” Mr Tracey said.

“Sustaining such a high level of activity throughout the pandemic, in particular, is a testament to our staff working together with a shared commitment to excellence and the wellbeing of children and young people.”

Between 2015-16 and 2020-21, the Queensland Children’s Hospital reported:

  • 12 per cent increase in emergency department presentations (from more than 65,650 to more than 73,610)
  • 19 per cent increase in surgeries performed (from more than 7,890 to more than 9,415)
  • 62 per cent per cent increase in outpatient appointments (from more than 137,584 to more than 222,410)

In the same period, Children’s Health Queensland HHS’s annual operating budget had increased from $612 million to more than $870 million, a 42 per cent growth.

The HHS’s total workforce has grown from 3,422 to 4,060 people, (a 19 per cent increase), including 480 to 580 doctors, and 1,456 to 1,731 nurses.

Quarterly performance data for Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service has been released today, available on the website here.

Last updated: 30 July 2021