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Mackay health staff, services celebrated for five-year achievements

30 July 2021

A five-year snapshot of Mackay 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.

“We also have a high number of patients spending long periods of time in hospitals while they wait for aged care or disability packages, leading to significant impact on availability of hospital beds. Importantly, hospital is not an appropriate alternative to home or a residential care for the most vulnerable in our society who deserve better.

“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 Mackay HHS’s hard-working staff and the health services for these achievements.”

Mackay HHS Chief Executive Lisa Davies Jones said staff were dedicated to patient care and have been working incredibly hard to care for anyone who visits our hospitals.

“We are caring for more people than ever before in our hospitals, emergency and specialist outpatient departments, dental clinics and community-based services,” Ms Davies Jones said.

“Our emergency departments are busy places and staff work tirelessly to provide excellent care for their community, often in very difficult situations and I would like to publicly thank them for this.”

Between 2015-16 and 2020-21 Mackay HHS’s hospitals reported:

  • 74 per cent increase in emergency department presentations (from more than 57,390 to more than 99,900)
  • 27 per cent increase in surgeries performed (from more than 4,760 to more than 6,060)
  • 24 per cent increase in outpatient appointments (from more than 162,040 to more than 200,540)
  • Continued delivering more than 1,500 babies each year, including private facilities in the region.

In the same period, Mackay HHS’s annual operating budget had increased from $327 million to more than $493 million, a 50 per cent growth.

The HHS’s total workforce has grown from 2,041 to 2,578 people (a 26 per cent increase), including 239 to 344 doctors, 745 to 991 nurses and 57 to 68 midwives.

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

Last updated: 30 July 2021