West Moreton Health is caring for more people than ever before as it rises to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing population.

In 2018 (January to November) West Moreton Health provided surgery to 8460 people, including 3848 emergency surgeries and 4612 elective surgeries.

During the same time 78,162 people presented to one of five emergency departments at Esk, Gatton, Laidley, Boonah and Ipswich. Ipswich Hospital alone responded to 62,885 presentations. March was the busiest month for the year, with 7570 people coming through the doors in need of help across the region.

West Moreton Health also provided 302, 726 outpatient appointments – up almost 10,000 on 2017.

West Moreton Health Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said the demand for health care services in West Moreton was unprecedented.

“There was an extra 3764 people seeking emergency help and we performed an additional 273 emergency surgeries compared to the same time last year,’’ Dr Freeman said.

“Not only are we seeing more people but we are seeing a higher percentage of people with immediately life threating illness or injury.”

Category 1 and 2 patients – those who must be seen within two minutes and 10 minutes respectively – accounted for 18.2 per cent of all patients in 2018 compared to 16.8 per cent in 2017 (January to November).

The West Moreton region is the fastest growing in the state, with a population expected to rise by 113 per cent by 2036.

“West Moreton Health has a plan for the region’s future and through its Master Plan, collaboration with health partners, and investment in people, infrastructure and technology like Digital Health, we are ready to respond to the challenge,” Dr Freeman said.

“In 2018 West Moreton Health team members have absolutely risen to the challenge of a surging population, showing that despite increased demand, our focus on providing safe care for the people who need our help most has not altered.

“Our emergency departments exist to help the sickest people, those whose life depends on us, and we have maintained a strong performance delivering fast, safe care to people whose life is threatened.

“Similarly, the number of emergency surgeries performed now accounts for 45 per cent of all surgery – up five percentage on last year – as our surgical team works to prioritise the sickest people.

“We make no apologies for prioritising those who need our care most.

“Even as emergency surgery demand increases we are proud to have maintained a strong performance for elective surgery with 97.8 per cent of elective surgeries – or 4510 – provided within clinically recommended times.’’

West Moreton community members are reminded to consider their safety and wellbeing over the Christmas and New Year period, and keep emergency departments for emergency.

“I would like to wish the West Moreton community a happy and safe holiday period,” Dr Freeman said.

“On behalf of the West Moreton Health team it has been a privilege to play a part in the care and treatment of so many in the West Moreton community this year.

“I would also like to thank the West Moreton Health team, including frontline workers and those who provide vital behind-the-scenes support, for the fantastic work you do each and every day to provide safe, compassionate care for people in need.”

Ipswich First