Minister for Health applauds Rockhampton Hospital staff
TWENTY-four months ago, 4,069 people were forced to wait longer than recommended for specialist outpatient appointments at the Rockhampton Hospital. Today, that number is just 184.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick visited Rockhampton Hospital today to congratulate the staff on what he called a "fantastic achievement".
"When the Palaszczuk Government came to power there were 100,000 Queenslanders waiting longer than clinically recommended for an outpatient appointment in public hospitals," Mr Dick said.
"100,000 people left behind by the previous government. Our government made a commitment to get those waiting lists down, so people could come into hospital and get an appointment with a specialist to get their treatment commenced.
"In Central Queensland in July 2014, there were 4,069 people waiting longer than recommended, a year later it was 272 and today 184. This is a significant achievement for the hospital.
"In orthopaedic surgery there were 1,554 people waiting, now I am pleased to say the number is now down to nine. In general surgery when we came to government there were 944 people, now that's down to three.
"An example of great teamwork by the Rockhampton Hospital, the doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, administrators working on the front line to get these waiting lists down."
Nurse unit manager for outpatients Chris McPherson said the staff had worked tirelessly to get the outpatient numbers down.
"I would just like to say I have an amazing group of people here, the doctors, all the staff that Mr Dick mentioned," the nurse of 30-years said.
"We have worked really hard to change those outcomes for the patients in Central Queensland.
"Across our district it has made an increasing change to how we are able to offer our services.
"It has made a real change for our patients here and I think we have had such an awesome response to be able to see patients in time and I hope that it continues and we are able to book patients within one month from when the referrals come in."
The minimum waiting time within people must be treated is 30 days for category one patients, 90 days for category two and 365 days for category three.
Mr Dick explained that these numbers were ignored by the previous government.
"When we came to government we found 100,000 Queenslanders waiting outside of those time frames, some people waiting years for appointments," he said.
"Rockhampton is one of the highest performing hospitals when it comes to outpatient appointments and emergency department access.
"You are never at the finishing line in health, you have to keep working."
Mr Dick also met with newly appointed chair of Central Queensland Hospital Paul Bell who he praised for leading the way forward.