PHOTO: JONATHAN BORBA, PEXELS | STAFF EXHAUSTED: Staff manning emergency departments at all Southeast Queensland hospitals are struggling to cope with the work pressures since the pandemic started two years ago.
IPSWICH HOSPITAL’S emergency department is facing its toughest COVID-19 wave to date as sickness and worker fatigue aggravate staff shortages.
The crisis isn’t just confined to Ipswich Hospital with all Southeast Queensland hospitals reporting their waiting rooms, emergency beds and wards are at capacity.
On top of this ambulance ramping hasn’t eased. Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has recently gone on record to reveal between six and seven per cent of Queensland health workers were currently on sick leave.
That number is more than double the usual average, AMA Queensland ‘s Dr Kim Hansen said when you look at the beds being taken up with Covid and the reduced staffing, you get an idea of the pressure being faced across our hospital systems.
“Emergency medicine has become less attractive since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago,” she said.
“Emergency departments are really staffed mostly by junior doctors with some senior doctors supervising them, and the junior doctors in particular are choosing other paths,” she said.
“My colleagues are feeling the stress and some of them are getting burnt out which is just so sad to see.”
It’s understood local hospital waiting rooms, emergency beds and wards are at capacity and ambulance ramping is an ongoing problem.
Dr Hansen said she believed locals are facing the toughest Covid wave yet.
“The numbers are pretty huge, and we’ve got influenza on top of that,” she said.
Queensland’s current COVID-19 wave is expected to peak in coming weeks, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has encouraged residents to wear masks when indoors in public.
“The best way to slow this wave down is to wear masks,” she said.
“This is to help our hospitals, our doctors, our nurses. It’s to help our workforce.”
Students and teachers are also being encouraged to wear masks at school where social distancing isn’t possible.