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United Workers Union welcomes $100 million funding boost to tackle emergency department demand in Queensland.

Key elements of the funding include:

  • $39.6 million for additional beds, particularly in areas with the most demand, alongside funding to free up existing ones.
  • $4 million to expand the mental health co-responder model by an additional four teams over the next three years.
  • $5 million for a targeted expansion of the Transfer Initiative Nurse model by an additional four hospitals to support getting ambulances back on the road faster.

Quotes attributable to United Workers Union National Ambulance Coordinator Fiona Scalon:

“Today’s announcement includes a significant investment in opening new beds and freeing up existing one.

“The mental health co-responder model has been really successful. When there is a mental health professional on board with a paramedic it results in a 60 per cent decrease in hospital presentation – that has got to be good news for the current situation, the community and ambulance officers.

“Mental health co-responders have access to Queensland Health information for any given patients, which means they can intervene for these patients and direct them to the most appropriate place to seek support, instead of presenting at a hospital.

“When paramedics on the ground are able to transfer the care of patients to a transfer initiative nurse this allows them to get back out into the community.

“One nursing professional can take the care of four patients which then frees up eight paramedics to be back out in the community. The maths just makes sense. $5 million will bolster the existing model and we would like to see as many transfer initiative nurses as possible.

“Our members know the only way for this to work is if there’s checks and balances to make sure the hospital and health services abide by where these people should be – not sucked into other parts of the hospital.

“The minute the pressure is off then this can happen unless there in a mechanism in place and a criteria for hospitals to follow at a local level. This is needed in the implementation of these funds.”


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