Surgeries Delayed in Queensland Hospitals Due to COVID and Flu Surge

The Australian Federal Health Department data released this week showed that COVID-19 patients occupied about eight percent of Queensland hospital ward beds, and burnt-out health workers took time offs to recover from overwhelming fatigue.

According to reports, doctors also warned of surgery delays that could result in late cancer diagnosis. 

Queensland recorded more than 11,600 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest reporting period, with 1,050 patients in Queensland hospitals and 26 people in intensive care – figures that already exceeded the capacity of the largest health facility in the state. 

“It’s impossible for us to know with any certainty exactly how high it could be, but it could very easily be three to five times that number at the moment,” Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Hospital Dr. Paul Griffin said.  

“People are working extra shifts, double shifts, overtime — fatigue is immense — and so it is a very challenging situation,” Griffin added.  

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Omar Khorshid said that amid the growing Omicron wave, doctors were worried the hospital system could not “deliver the best care that it can.” 

“More mistakes get made, people’s care is delayed, and we know there is a cost to that: a cost in lives, a cost in worse outcomes, which can mean a lifetime of disability as opposed to a cure,” Khorshid said. 

Griffin also said that deferrals of procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies could result in cancers picked up at a later stage. 

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