Health Minister Lawrence Springborg
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg John McCutcheon

Poor performance blamed on flu

FLU season has been blamed for poor performance in Queensland's hospital emergency departments.

Almost 11,000 Queenslanders, 1054 of whom needed hospitalisation, had been diagnosed with influenza this year as at August 19.

These figures are 1.8 times the average over the past five years, making this year's flu season one of the worst on record.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the latest Queensland Health performance data showed 75% of patients were transferred from an ambulance stretcher onto an emergency department bed within 30 minutes in July, 2012.

He said this figure had steadily declined from 84% in January due to the onset of winter.

"In recent weeks, we also have seen a large number of South-east Queensland hospitals going on bypass to manage the increasing number of patients," he said.

Mr Springborg said, fortunately, the latest epidemiological evidence showed the flu season had now peaked and was starting to trend downwards.

"This is not to say that there's not still work to be done to improve emergency department access; there is," he said. "We will be adopting the 15 recommendations of the recently released Metropolitan Emergency Department Access Initiative report."

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