Delivering safe, timely care for Queensland’s sickest kids

24 January 2019

Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) emergency clinicians treated more than 70,000 children and young people in 2018, 443 of them requiring immediate life-saving care.

Upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. colds, flu, ear infections, sore throats) were the most common presentations, followed by viral illnesses, minor head injuries, gastroenteritis and abdominal pain.

In 2018, a total of 70,687 patients presented at the QCH emergency department, with 443 of them triaged as Category 1 (most urgent), 11,482 as Category 2, and 24,109 as Category 3, 31,772 as Category 4 and 2,881 as Category 5.

QCH surgeons performed 5,698 emergency surgeries in 2018 – an increase of 3.9 per cent on the previous year – and 13,946 elective surgeries (including 2,620 ear, nose and throat surgeries, 1,836 general surgeries and 1,340 orthopaedic surgeries).

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said the strong surgical and emergency performance in 2018 was testament to the hard work of staff committed to improving the healthcare journey and experience for patients and their families.

“Our clinical teams deserve enormous credit for managing fluctuating demand and continuing to deliver exceptional, safe and timely healthcare for children and young people in Queensland,” Ms Dougan said.

“The emergency department continues to see the sickest and most critically injured children within clinically indicated timeframes, and the median wait time across all five categories in December 2018 was just 16 minutes.

“We continue to work closely with Queensland Ambulance Service to ensure ambulances are redeployed back into the community quickly, with greater than 90 per cent of ambulances back on the road within the indicated timeframe.”

“Elective surgery long-wait patients remain a focus and this number has been reduced to 54 as of January 2019 – and this continues to decline.”

Top five presentations to QCH emergency department in 2018

  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Viral illness
  • Minor head injury
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Abdominal pain

Hospital and Health Service performance statistics are published monthly on the Queensland Health website:


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