Queensland Emergency Departments have been swamped with a record number of patients following an unseasonal spike in flu cases.

New figures from Queensland Health show the State’s Emergency Departments treated 1.5 million patients from July 2018 to March 2019, significantly more than the year before.

In March, the State’s Emergency Department physicians saw a total of 178, 573 patients – up by six per cent (%) from presentations this time last year.

Here’s what you need to know.

Key figures

  • 99% of the sickest patients are seen within two minutes of reaching hospital
  • 65% of patients with category one, two and three presentations are seen within 30 minutes of arriving at hospital
  • 86% of those presenting with non-urgent category four and five cases treated within four hours.
  • In April, around 5,600 people were treated each day – that’s almost 1 person every 15 seconds
  • 1,415 were category one patients, with cardiac complications being the most common
  • 104 category-one-critical presentations for cardiac conditions
  • 6,339 people with category two cardiac conditions
  • 1,041 people for bites from spiders, snakes and dogs, as well as three monkey bites.

Reducing the strain on Emergency Departments

With record numbers of presentations, Queensland Emergency Departments are working around the clock to attend to all patients that require medical attention.

Deputy Director General of Clinical Excellence Queensland, Dr John Wakefield stressed that despite their best efforts to treat everyone, hospital staff will always prioritise the most urgent cases first, such as those presenting with cardiac conditions.  

Dr Wakefield said Queensland hospitals are continuing to see more people arriving to EDs for minor ailments which could have been treated by a GP or after-hours doctor.

“Our clinicians always treat the sickest patients first,” Dr Wakefield said.

“Everyone will be seen but please know that if you’re waiting in an ED to be seen for a minor ailment, it’s probably because our-hard working emergency physicians are working hard to save someone’s life.

“Our doctors are always going to treat patients based on clinical need so heart attacks will almost always be treated before snake bites, and snake bites before acne or ingrown toenails.”

If you’re uncertain whether you need immediate medical attention, call 13HEALTH for more information or call 13 55 66 to book a bulk-billed home visit.