Why have outpatient numbers exploded in south-west Queensland?

THE number of people being seen by the South-West Hospital and Health Service has almost doubled in 12 months - but there's a good reason for it.

The SWHHS 2015-16 annual report, tabled by Health Minister Cameron Dick last week, showed a dramatic increase in the number of outpatients attending their facilities - from 60,205 to 102,402.

However, a spokeswoman from Queensland Health confirmed the increase wasn't as strange as it sounds, with SWHHS expanding its outpatient service and taking over several former GP clinics across the regions.

The service also saw 6000 more emergency patients than the previous financial year, however births across south-west Queensland dropped slightly.

Health Service Chair Lindsay Godfrey said the board had noticed success stories in oral health and telehealth, where patients use audio-visual technology to speak with a specialist in an urban centre.

"The dental team delivered 38,908 oral health occasions of service, which was the highest level ever achieved for oral health in the south-west's history,” he said.

"The 2015-16 numbers were well above the 32,303 oral health occasions of service recorded in 2014-15, which was itself a record year.

"Telehealth is another incredible success story. Across the south-west as a whole, telehealth non-admitted patient occasions of service have rocketed from just 64 in 2005-06 to more than 2000 for 2015-16.

"We now provide access to 42 specialities via telehealth to non-admitted patients.”

SWHHS also increased the number of full-time equivalent staff by 40.14 during 2015-16.

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