Nambour Hospital COVID-19 testing area

‘Utterly f---ed’: Outrage over crowded testing area

Nambour Hospital has come under fire for a "badly thought out" coronavirus test waiting area as the region's hospitals struggle with an influx of patients seeking to be tested.

Sunshine Coast man Jake Harvey told the Daily on Monday he waited about four hours outside the hospital for a virus test and watched several others give up and leave.

The waiting area outside the testing clinic was spaced over four disabled carparks and consisted of 14 chairs spaced apart. But Mr Harvey counted 46 people crammed into the area at one stage in the afternoon.

 

"Quite a few people have rocked up, waited and waited then just gave up and left," he said. "It's really poorly (thought) out."

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Footage sent to the Daily shows coughing patients sitting on the ground and in the garden to stay a safe distance apart.

A Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said hospitals were seeing an increase in patients seeking COVID-19 tests. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
A Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said hospitals were seeing an increase in patients seeking COVID-19 tests. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Mr Harvey said it was "utterly f---ed", with patients already showing signs of COVID-19 waiting for hours in temperatures as low as 16C.

"I finally got inside at 5pm (sic). There were still people outside waiting, mostly women and kids," he said.

"Some kids were huddled against the wall because it was so cold.

"I finally got out at 6pm (sic) and there were still sick people outside trying to keep warm. The wait wasn't the issue it was how poorly thought out the whole thing was."

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Mr Harvey said he raised the issue with both a doctor and a nurse, but was only told staff weren't expecting so many people.

"I asked her why this is so poorly (thought) out and she said they weren't expecting so many people, then said they had been experiencing significantly more people over the last week or so, but obviously had done nothing to cater for it …" he said.

"If 14 chairs, a few bottles of water … for a group of cold sick people is 'the best they can do' something is very wrong."

Patients wait to be seen at the Nambour General Hospital.
Patients wait to be seen at the Nambour General Hospital.

A Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said the region's health services were experiencing increased demand for COVID-19 testing.

The Daily asked direct questions about what processes were in place should a testing clinic become overcrowded, but Queensland Health did not answer. It's also unclear if the process at Nambour Hospital will be reviewed.

"We thank everyone who takes the time to get tested. By doing so, you are helping us control the spread of this disease and protecting our community," the spokeswoman said.

"Queenslanders in the main have been outstanding throughout this pandemic - responsible, compliant and considerate - and we ask that you to continue being patient.

"Importantly, if you have symptoms, it is critical that you get tested and isolate yourself until you know the results - for yourself, your loved ones and the broader community."

It comes after three men were charged and taken into hotel quarantine after showing an incorrect pass, which declared they had not been in a coronavirus hotspot, at the Queensland border at the weekend.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the state in the past 24 hours, with just seven people in hospital being treated.


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