Queensland border-hoppers flock to NSW hospital
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk might claim Queensland hospitals are only for Queenslanders - but plenty of Gold Coast residents are border-hopping to Tweed Heads Hospital.
Figures obtained from the Northern NSW Local Health District show almost one in four patients attending the Tweed Heads Hospital emergency department are Queenslanders.
NSWLHD chief executive Wayne Jones said last financial year "23.8 per cent, or 12,250 Queenslanders received medical attendance in the emergency department," at Tweed Heads.
It makes something of a mockery of Ms Palaszczuk's statement last week: "People living in NSW have NSW hospitals. In Queensland we have Queensland hospitals for our people" in response to outrage over new parents forbidden to cross the border to see their newborn who was flown from Lismore to Brisbane for specialist care.
Meanwhile more than 6000 Queenslanders were admitted as inpatients in the Tweed Hospital, representing almost 20 per cent of admissions.
Twenty-seven per cent of surgical admissions were Queenslanders and the reason is Tweed outperforms the Gold Coast University Hospital on all performance measures.
Only 49 per cent of category two emergency patients are seen within the recommended 10 minutes at GCUH whereas Tweed sees 85 per cent of patients on time, according to My Hospitals performance data.
Only 47 per cent of category three, or urgent cases that should be seen within 30 minutes, meet the benchmark at GCUH compared to 82 per cent at Tweed.
Elective surgery wait times for non-urgent patients is an average of 334 days at GCUH compared to just 148 at Tweed Hospital and, for semi-urgent, the average times are 63 days for GCUH compared to 46 days at Tweed.
"There were 11,224 Queenslanders who received outpatient services, which represents 24.9 per cent of all outpatients at The Tweed Hospital," Mr Jones said.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said the border community were all Australians and Ms Palaszczuk's comments were "degrading".
"Here on the border we are just one big community that stretched across the artificial line and we have been treating Queenslanders for some time," he said.
"I know our elective surgery waiting lists are quicker but that is fine, we consider ourselves Australian.
"It is a real credit to our clinicians here in Tweed, they have one of the best teams and I don't blame people coming down. We happily look after them. A lot of our senior medical care is conducted up in Brisbane, it has been working well for many years."