$6m surplus, shorter patient wait times are major highlights in annual CQ hospitals report
LOW patient wait times and a $6.3 million surplus are some of the highlights from the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service this financial year.
In 2015-16 there was an $8.8 million deficit.
Chair Paul Bell said it was achieved while considerably increasing the investment in front-line staff employment which allowed the service to "deliver outstanding results”.
"Strategic planning will identify the most effective investment of surplus funds going forward to ensure continued improvement is achieved,” he said.
"In a climate of tightening fiscal policy, increasing community demand and higher costs, this funding is essential to ensure the future needs of communities in Central Queensland are met with sustainable, efficient and effective systems and facilities.”
Chief Executive Steve Williamson said the great achievements of the past year were something for the health service's staff to celebrate.
"Our staff work extremely hard every day to achieve these great results and while we recognised some of our star performers at this year's staff awards, the release of this year's annual report is another occasion for us to say a big thank-you to every one of our 3500 staff for their fantastic dedication and passion for patient care,” he said.
Mr Williamson said the results ranked the service among the best in Queensland.
"At the end of the financial year no patient was waiting longer than clinically recommended for a specialist outpatient appointment; the number waiting longer than recommended for a scope procedure (such as colonoscopy or endoscopy) had been cut from about 200 to just 1 and there was a similar result for elective surgery,” he said.
"Access to our emergency departments was up with the best in Queensland and waiting times for an oral health appointment delivered significant well-being improvements for our patients.”
Although there were many highlights in the annual report, unsurprisingly permanent recruitment to clinical positions remains a challenge.
"CQ Health is impacted by the premium costs associated with the contracting of medical locums and agency nurses,” the report reads.
For Gladstone Hospital specifically, the upgrade of the emergency department was highlighted in the report. It will begin in April next year and the report says it will be completed by August 2019.
Early works to move the carpark have already begun on site.