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Metro South health staff, services celebrated for five-year achievements

30 July 2021

A five-year snapshot of Metro South 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 Metro South HHS’s hard-working staff and the health services for these achievements.”

Chair of Metro South Hospital and Health Board, Janine Walker AM said that the health service was committed to providing health care to the growing Metro South community, whilst continuing to manage the impact of COVID-19.

“Despite these unprecedented times, nothing has been insurmountable for our hard-working staff who continue to rise to the challenge,” Ms Walker said.

“Each and every day, our staff continue to respond to the high demand in our services that we have been experiencing across Metro South Health.

“Our staff should be commended and have performed record numbers of surgeries in the past year despite the service demands, and challenges in responding to COVID-19.

“This is a tremendous achievement and means we are helping more patients receive the healthcare they need, sooner.”

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

  • 10 per cent increase in emergency department presentations (from more than 274,920 to more than 303,300)
  • 24 per cent increase in surgeries performed (from more than 33,520 to more than 41,800)
  • 79 per cent increase in outpatient appointments (from more than 605,700 to more than 1,084,900)
  • Continued delivering more than 14,500 babies each year, including private facilities in the region.

In the same period, Metro South HHS’s annual operating budget had increased from $2.02 billion to more than $2.67 billion, a 32 per cent growth.

The HHS’s total workforce has grown from 12,324 to 14,068 people (a 14 per cent increase), including 1,636 to 1,882 doctors, 5,079 to 5,819 nurses and 178 to 251 midwives.

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

Last updated: 30 July 2021