Improved access to timely care for Queensland children

29 September 2017

Children, young people and their families are benefiting from improved access to healthcare services, according to the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service 2016-17 Annual Report tabled in Parliament today.

The Queensland Children’s Hospital admitted 40,761 inpatients, provided 227,919 outpatient appointments and treated 66,760 children and young people in its emergency department between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

The number of children and young people waiting longer than clinically recommended for an initial specialist outpatient appointment at QCH fell 89 per cent – from 2,421 in June 2016 to 266  in June 2017. This was achieved with additional funding through the Queensland Government’s Specialist Outpatient Strategy and initiatives such as Saturday and after-hours clinics, and streamlining processes so clinicians could see more patients.

The hospital’s performance against the National Elective Surgery Target (NEST) target also improved significantly. Between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017, every child and young person needing elective surgery (across all categories – 1, 2 and 3) were treated within clinically recommended timeframes. The QCH also maintained zero elective surgery long waits in 2016-2017.

In terms of emergency length of stay, the Queensland Children’s Hospital exceeded the Queensland target of more than 80 per cent, with 83 per cent of patients discharged, admitted to a ward or transferred to another facility within four hours of arrival at the Emergency department. Some 96.1 per cent of children arriving by ambulance were off the stretcher in less than 30 minutes.

The Child and Youth Community Health Service provided 105,616 occasions of service in 2016- 2017, while continuing to strengthen and expand services in the Greater Brisbane area and across the state.

The Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS) saw 5,362 clients and provided more than 78,945 occasions of service, including 1,626 via the statewide ‘e-CYMHS’ telehealth service. The CYMHS crisis hotline also received 1,118 calls.

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said the organisation had delivered on its commitment of providing safe, high-quality and accessible health care for Queensland children and young people.

‘We provided 7.3 per cent more activity than the target set for the financial year, while continuing to meet or exceed key state and national performance targets for patient care, including waiting times for elective surgery, specialist outpatient appointments and emergency care.”

“These exceptional results are testament to our dedicated front-line clinicians and support staff working together with a shared commitment to excellence,” Ms Dougan said.

“Families also played a central role in our achievements by working in partnership with staff to help us ensure the care we provide is integrated, coordinated and focused on the needs of children and young people at all times.”

Other highlights in the 2016-2017 year included:

  • The Queensland Children’s Hospital became the first paediatric hospital in Australasia to be awarded Level 1 Major Trauma Service status by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
  • Launch of the CHQ at Home service, which delivers a range of care services, including mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy care and palliative care, in the comfort of a child’s home.
  • Launch of the statewide Primary School Health Nurse School Readiness Program, focused on the early detection of vision problems in Queensland Prep students.
  • Establishment of Queensland’s first public Gender Clinic and Statewide Service for children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria.
  • Establishment of five additional Assertive Mobile Youth Outreach Service teams to support young people experiencing mental health issues.
  • Launch of the first phase of the integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR) program, which creates a single digital patient health record, ensuring all staff involved in the care of a child can access information quicker and easier.

Children’s Health Queensland and the Queensland Children’s Hospital has also been awarded full Accreditation status for a further four years, following an organisation-wide survey against the National Safety and Quality Healthcare Service Standards, the EQuIP National Standards and the Standards for Mental Health Services in June 2017.

“Children’s Health Queensland met all 521 actions associated with the standards and were advised we ‘met with merit’ in a number of key areas. The team of surveyors highlighted the exceptional work of Children’s Health Queensland staff, systems, and its focus on engaging with families and delivering patient- and family-centred care,” Ms Dougan said.

The Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service 2016-2017 Annual Report is available online at: https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/about-us/our-publications/

ENDS

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