Hospitals no longer allowed to 'bypass'

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FROM New Year's Day next year, no hospital will be allowed to put themselves on "bypass", traditionally a signal to ambulance drivers that they are overcrowded and cannot handle more patients.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the end of hospitals using bypass was just one of 15 recommendations delivered by the Metropolitan Emergency Department Access Initative Report released publicly on Thusrday. When a hospital puts itself on bypass, ambulances are then sent to other hospitals or are forced to queue with patients still inside the vehicle, a practice known as "ramping".

Mr Springborg said the "entire redesign" of how emergency departments operate, including better co-ordination with Queensland Ambulance Service, would better serve patients.

Mr Springborg said that in the 12 months from June 2011 to June 2012, the amount of ramping and bypassing had fallen, but work still needed to be done.

"There will always be situations where ambulances attend an ED and have to wait a while," Mr Springborg said.

"The problem is that you have patients sitting in ambulances being treated as they would if they were in the ED.

"We want to reduce the amount of time people spend in ambulances being ramped."

Mr Springborg said more clinical workers would be put in place to assess those who come into the ED, but those patients would no longer be returned to wait in an ambulance.

The full report is available on Queensland Health's website at under "What's New".

Topics:  ambulance bypass hospitals lawrence springborg

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