Public Hospital Report Card 2024


AMA QLD President’s Introduction

Dr Maria Boulton

President, AMA Queensland

First, let me thank our dedicated and hardworking health workforce. Our healthcare system relies on their altruism and goodwill at a time of stretched resources and staffing shortages.​

The figures in this report are disappointing but not surprising, and reflect the reality that our members on the ground experience every day. While Queensland sits in the middle of the field in this national table, we know that there are vast differences between our big cities and our small communities.​

Our median waiting times for elective surgery are below the national average, but they are rising, not falling. This is particularly true in our regional communities, where hospital doctors are justifiably concerned that their patients face a longer wait than their city counterparts. We are convening a Surgical Wait List Roundtable, similar to our 2021 Ramping Roundtable, to develop practical, achievable recommendations to government to address waiting lists and workforce shortages in our regions.​

We need to find ways to attract new doctors, nurses and healthcare workers to our regions and encourage them to stay. Queensland is the most decentralised state with communities sometimes hours from their nearest hospital.​

The Queensland Government has borne a disproportionate share of the public hospital funding burden for more than a decade.​

This is a state election year and we will be looking closely at all sides of politics and their policies and proposals. In particular, we will be calling on our state representatives to argue for a fairer share of federal funding for our public hospitals.

Key Takeaways

Queensland’s performance remains middle-of-the-field across most key metrics. Following worrying trends on a national level, the state’s performance fell between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 periods across most of the elective surgery and emergency department indicators. ​

Table 1: Queensland’s performance 2022-23 compared to the previous year

Cat 3 ED on time 4 Hour Rule Median Surgery wait Cat 2 Surgery wait

Table 2: Queensland’s performance 2022-23 compared to national average (below or above)

Cat 3 ED on time 4 Hour Rule Median Surgery wait Cat 2 Surgery wait

Emergency department performance - Queensland

Queensland’s Emergency Department performance saw mixed results during the 2022-23 reporting period. A slight improvement from 60 per cent to 62 per cent of Cat 3 ED patients being seen within the recommended time of 30 minutes was unfortunately offset by a major decline in ED visits completed in four hours or less, where Queensland fell from 61 per cent in 2021/22 to the below average 54 per cent last year.

Figure 3: Percentage of Category 3 (urgent) ED patients seen within the recommended time of under 30 minutes - Queensland ​

Figure 4: Percentage of ED visits completed in four hours or less - Queensland​

Planned surgery performance - Queensland

Despite performing better than the national average in both planned surgery metrics measured by the AMA in 2022-23, Queensland followed national trends with declining performance in both realms. Queensland’s median wait times were the best in the country for the first 15 years of the 21st century, but now patients are waiting almost twice as long for planned surgery than they were 20 years ago. Queensland has also seen plummeting performance for the proportion of category 2 patients admitted within the recommended time frame, which has fallen from 96 per cent in 2016-17 to just 70 per cent in 2022-23.

Figure 5: Median waiting time for planned surgery (days) – Queensland

Figure 6: Percentage of category 2 planned surgery patients admitted within the recommended (90 days) - Queensland

Public hospital expenditure - Queensland

Figure 7: Per person average annual percent increase in public hospital funding by government source (constant prices) - Queensland

2011-12 to 2021-22 2011-12 to 2016-17 2016-17 to 2021-22
Commonwealth 3.33% 3.29% 2.81%
Queensland Government 1.63% 0.15% 2.86%

Figure 8: Public Hospital Funding, per person, by government source (constant prices) - Queensland

The most recent public hospital funding data is from 2021-22. In Queensland, most public hospital funding (53 per cent) comes from the state government, however State public hospital spending per person of $1413 per person represents the second lowest figure in the nation.