The Queensland opposition has revealed alarming new figures that show long delays of 24 hours or more for thousands of Queenslanders in emergency departments across the state.
The data was made public after a question on notice tabled in parliament after the opposition claimed it had been approached by frontline staff about the chronic stress they were under.
The figures show that in June there were 1,986 patients who spent more than a day in hospital emergency departments (EDs).
A further 2,068 patients faced the same fate in July.
There were 6,979 stays in EDs that lasted more than a day from June 1 to September 30 this year across the 26 biggest hospitals.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the figures were "shocking" and "unacceptable".
He said he had laid bare the "shocking extent of bed block in Queensland hospitals" after being approached by frontline staff about work overload and "stress" by not being able to treat ill patients more quickly.
"To put it into perspective about how big a crisis this is, it is nearly 60 Queenslanders every day waiting more than a day in their hour of need to be seen.
"The government has no-one to blame but themselves for a sick system, seven and a half years in the making.
"There was a time when someone waiting 24 hours in an ED was a big deal. It is now business as usual."
Mr Crisafulli said staff had told him there was a time when, if someone waited longer than 24 hours in an ED, a meeting was held to see to ensure it did not happen again.
He said a lack of resources, not frontline staff, was to blame.
The data showed Hervey Bay to have the longest delay times, followed by Bundaberg.
At the Gold Coast University Hospital, 131 people waited 24 hours or longer in June while at Redland the number was 256.
But the data also showed some hospitals had gotten on top of wait times in recent months.
In June, Logan Hospital had 186 patients waiting 24 hours or more, but that number fell to 75 by September.
Redland also reduced its number to 127 by September.
The data comes days after the state government revealed a slight improvement in ramping in the last quarter, but a 7 per cent jump in those needing the most urgent care at major public hospitals.
D'Ath says all category 1 patients seen within two minutes
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath had played down the delays, arguing in a statement that ED waits of 24 hours or longer represented only a "small fraction" of total patients requiring emergency care.
Ms D'Ath said around 99 per cent of people were admitted or discharged within that time.
She said patients were cared for by dedicated and skilled clinicians for the entirety of their stay, regardless of length.
"The Australian College of Emergency Medicine's State of Emergency 2022 report shows Queensland is performing better than any other jurisdiction when it comes to getting patients transferred from emergency departments into hospital beds," she said.
"Queensland Health's latest performance data for the September 2022 quarter also shows the proportion of public hospital ED patients seen on time increased in the September quarter when our hospitals were heavily impacted by the third COVID wave and thousands of health workers were furloughed."
Ms D'Ath said more patients were seen according to national standards, with wait times of 17 minutes across all five presentation categories in the September quarter, compared to the 20-minute median ED wait time in 2013/14 when the LNP was in power.
"Across all five categories, the proportion of ED patients seen within clinically recommended times during the September quarter increased by 1.4 per cent," she said.
"One hundred per cent of category 1 patients, the most critical sick patients, are seen within two minutes of arriving."
But the health minister acknowledged some patients were waiting much longer and she thanked them for their patience.