Documents lift lid on Queensland’s devastating ramping crisis
Alarming new documents have unveiled the true extent of Queensland’s growing ramping crisis, revealing at least eight deaths are under review by the state’s ambulance service.
Exclusive documents obtained by 9News have shown that of the eight deaths under review, one includes a patient that died after waiting more than two and a half hours for paramedics to arrive.
The eight fatalities all occurred within a year across the state’s regions, seven of which involved ambulance delays.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the situation reflected a major “failure”.
“When you pull it all together and you stitch this pattern you see a picture of failing health services,” he said.
The first of the eight incidents happened in Cairns two years ago.
Two triple zero calls for help were made but an ambulance didn’t arrive until 31 minutes after the first call, and the patient was soon declared dead.
At the time six ambulances were ramped waiting outside the hospital.
Then in Toowoomba in November 2021, a patient died after ambulance delays.
In Townsville, on January 8, 2022, two triple zero calls were made more than an hour apart.
An ambulance was assigned but then diverted, with crew failing to arrive until more than 2½ hours after the first call.
The patient was pronounced dead at the scene.
At the time seven ambulances were stuck on the ramp.
The very next day, a patient died after waiting 34 minutes for an ambulance, the incident occurring just 220 metres from Townsville station.
Later that month, another incident in the same region occurred.
A stroke patient fell to the ground while being moved from a stretcher to a hospital bed, suffering injuries to their neck and shortly after passing away.
Another death was then recorded in Rockhampton after extreme delays.
And in Cairns in March 2022, two men died after waiting for an ambulance.
In one of those cases, paramedics didn’t arrive for 54 minutes.
Ramping cases more than double
“When this government came to office ambulance ramping was at 15 per cent, today it is at 41 per cent – that is the worst in the nation,” Crisafulli said.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath dismissed claims of a failing health system and said Queensland response times were among the best nationally.
“We have one of the best response times in the country despite having volumes far in excess of other jurisdictions,” she said.
The state government is now pointing to its $10 billion health investment in last year’s budget.
“We are building an additional five to seven new health facilities in rural communities every year over the next seven years,” D’Ath said.