Queensland Children’s Hospital delivers improved access to elective surgery

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  • More elective surgery patients received treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital within clinically recommended times during the March 2024 quarter compared to the same quarter of 2023, with a 76 per cent reduction in ready for surgery long waits.
  • The median waiting time for surgical treatment has improved, with the most urgent cases (Category 1) receiving treatment within seven days while the median wait time for Category 2 patients was down 21.4 per cent from the prior March quarter.
  • The Queensland Children’s Hospital emergency department recorded 19,553 presentations in the March quarter, with clinicians responding to 78 per cent of patients within the clinically recommended timeframe.

Queensland Children’s Hospital is seeing strong results in key areas, with data released today showing a significant decrease of children waiting for elective surgery.

In the March 2024 quarter, 2,176 elective surgeries were performed, reducing the number of children on the ready for surgery long wait list by 76 per cent compared with the same period in 2023.

Data shows the number of patients ready for surgery waiting longer than clinically recommended had fallen from 692 as at the end of March 2023, to 166 by the end of March in 2024.

There were 19,553 presentations to the Queensland Children’s Hospital emergency department in the first three months of 2024, and the median wait time across the five patient categories was 16 minutes.

Positively, 78.5 per cent of patients were seen within clinically recommended times, including 100 per cent of Category 1 patients.

The median waiting time for surgical treatment has significantly improved in the March quarter when compared with the same quarter of the prior year, with Category 1 at seven days, Category 2 at 66 days (down from 84 days) and Category 3 at 279 days (down from 307 days).

This result was achieved through the hospital’s Sustainable Paediatric Surgical Services Plan, which has delivered increased access to operating theatres in the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Children’s Health Queensland has also focused on increasing safety and improving care in the emergency department by incorporating:

  • a Clinical Initiatives Nurse (CIN) who ensures early identification of children who are becoming increasingly unwell;
  • a rapid ED follow-up clinic for children to access non-urgent specialised medical care;
  • more doctors in its short stay treatment area;
  • a senior flow nurse; and,
  • co-location with the acute response mental health team.

Quotes attributable to Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Frank Tracey:

“On any given day the Queensland Children’s Hospital provides care to more than 1,200 Queensland children and young people.

“Our team is continually focused on reducing elective surgery waitlist pressures and improving care in our Emergency Department.

“Improvement initiatives include the addition of a Clinical Initiatives Nurse who ensures early identification of children who are becoming more unwell and the next day follow-up of children who did not wait for treatment in ED.

“We’re committed to providing world-class paediatric care and our teams continue to innovate and evolve models of care to ensure children and young people are treated in a safe and timely manner.”