Queenslanders cramming emergency departments with 'GP queries'
Queenslanders are cramming the state's emergency departments for prescription refills, medical certificates, even seeking treatment for acne.
Queenslanders are cramming emergency departments for prescription refills, medical certificates, and even seeking treatment for acne.
Queensland Health says more than a third of people who have visited hospitals could have been treated by a GP or seen a pharmacist, pushing out wait times for more critical patients who arrive in an ambulance.
United Workers Union claims the Royal Brisbane, Logan, PA and Ipswich hospitals are the worst affected.
"That means that our crews aren't back out on the ground, looking after people in the community," UWU's Fiona Scanlan told 9News.
"Paramedics and patients can wait six seven hours."
Across the state, the UWU says the average wait is two hours.
Over 587,000 people turned up at emergency departments across Queensland between October and December last year.
At least 76,000 of those were for things like splinters, medical certificates, repeat prescriptions, sunburn, blisters, acne, and hiccups.
For many, seeing the doctor is simply too expensive with $36 the average gap payment after the Medicare rebate.
"A lot of general practices can't afford just to bulk bill," Dr Chris Perry told 9News.
Experts believe the current Medicare rebate should be doubled to cover increased costs.
"What they currently pay GP's is just stupidly low, it's crazy," Dr Perry said.
"Barely paying for the overtime of your staff, you can't be there by yourself."
But with a cash strapped Federal Government, it's unlikely to significantly raise the Medicare rebate for GPs anytime soon.
Leaving ramping an ongoing problem.
"You can go and see your GP," Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"We really need our emergency departments to be kept for emergencies."