Queenslanders are being kept in the dark over the length of their local surgery waiting lists and emergency department performance, with the Opposition asserting the pandemic is being used as an excuse for cover up.

Despite Queensland Health approving Brisbane's Anzac Day mass marches due to Queensland's successful response to COVID-19, the same authorities have argued the pandemic is still preventing them from providing monthly reports around the performance of the state's public hospitals.

A spokeswoman said Queensland Health was committed to transparency, but it was nationally agreed that there would be a suspension in the ordinary national reporting of public hospital performance in the pandemic.

However other states have not suspended their normal reporting, and some even provide real-time information for their citizens on what's happening in their hospital emergency wards.

NSW reports the average waiting times for each of its hospitals, and a South Australian website gives detailed information on each of its hospitals, including exactly how many people are waiting at an emergency department at that moment in time.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital is the state’s largest.
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital is the state’s largest.


A Queensland Health website usually reveals a trove of information each month around patient numbers at emergency rooms, how quickly urgent and non-urgent patients waited for treatment, and how long ambulances were forced to "ramp" before room was available inside.

It also records the monthly elective surgery lists per urgency category, revealing how many patients were waiting longer than clinically recommended times for procedures.

But the latest information on the website is from February 2020 and the most recent information available is a statewide snapshot of hospital performance for the September 2020 quarter.

Neither Queensland Health nor Health Minister Yvette D'Ath's office could say when monthly reporting would return to normal.

"Queensland Health has been providing reporting of quarterly health data to ensure that Queenslanders are kept informed of how our health system is coping during the pandemic," a spokeswoman said.

But Opposition open data spokesman Brent Mickelberg said the suspension of important hospital data, that was essential to inform Queenslanders, was not good enough.

"Queenslanders have a right to know how their hospitals are performing," he said.

"The Labor State Government are keeping Queenslanders in the dark about one of the most important services that government provides to its citizens."

Originally published as Qld Health cover-up claims as vital hospital data hidden


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