Queensland Ambulance Officers fed up with having their vehicles ramped outside hospitals with their patients due to Emergency Department overcrowding have had their voices heard.
Supported by United Voice, on-road paramedic members have been vocal in mainstream and social media for the last year, calling for action to relieve ambulance ramping and its risks to patient safety ‒ particularly in areas such as Cairns and south Brisbane.
The crisis came to a head last week when Metro South Health issued a memo directing ED staff to turn away paramedics entering triage with patients during busy periods.
In response to the intense media scrutiny that followed, a meeting between the Queensland Director-General of Health, Metro South Chief Executive and the Queensland Ambulance Service Commissioner resolved to appoint a chief operating officer to co-ordinate operational improvements to the emergency system including bringing a “winter beds strategy” forward several weeks to provide 90 extra emergency beds across the state.
Unified, and with the courage to speak out, the ambulance officers’ stance compelled Queensland health executives to take action sooner than later in the interests of public safety.
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