Angry ambos' Facebook protest
QUEENSLAND Health has denied reports a doctor had to attend to patients in ambulances parked outside Rockhampton Hospital because of bed shortages.
A Morning Bulletin source said a doctor was forced to help patients who waited in idling ambulances outside the emergency department last month.
Yesterday Rockhampton Hospital's executive director Bernadette Loughnane said the longest a patient waited in an ambulance outside the hospital on Saturday, August 27, was 23 minutes.
She said this occurred when four ambulances arrived within 15 minutes of each other.
However, Jeanette Temperley, the co-ordinator of the ambulance section of United Voice, said "ramping", where ambulances were forced to "ramp" their vehicles outside hospitals for extended periods of time until their patients were seen, was a problem for local paramedics.
"I do know that it is an issue in Rocky," Ms Temperley said.
She said one night paramedics had sent photos to her of almost every ambulance in Rockhampton waiting outside the emergency department.
The Facebook website called "Ramping QAS at QLD Hospitals", which had 951 "likes" yesterday, hosted a picture claiming to show ambulances banked up outside Rockhampton Hospital (above). Ms Temperley said paramedics were fed up and the problem was getting worse.
But Ms Loughnane said the average wait for the most urgent patient outside Rockhampton Hospital was less than a minute, and for the average patient it was 20 minutes - which is better than the national average.
"No patient waits in an ambulance unless a professional triage nurse or doctor has assessed their condition and determined it is safe for the patient to remain under observation while more urgent patients are treated," Ms Loughnane said.