Queensland hospital boss Stephen Ayre sacked amid overcrowding crisis
Dr Ayre’s dismissal comes after The Courier-Mail has revealed a litany of issues that doctors and nurses fear are putting patients’ lives at risk, particularly at Logan Hospital.
Metro North chief executive Shaun Drummond will begin on Wednesday as his replacement.
Health Minister Steven Miles said Dr Drummond’s appointment was “in the best interests of patients”.
Stunned staff were told late yesterday in an email from Metro South Board chair Janine Walker that Dr Ayre’s employment had been terminated.
“Today I met with the Chief Executive of Metro South Hospital and Health Service (HHS) Dr Stephen Ayre to discuss the strategic direction of the HHS and how we can best continue to deliver for our communities,” she wrote.
“In consultation with the Board, I have made the decision that it is now timely for Dr Ayre to complete his tenure as the Chief Executive of the Health Service.”
The decision, supported by the Palaszczuk Government, follows disquiet over the way Metro South’s five hospitals have been managed during an unprecedented surge in patient numbers.
Dr Drummond has been drafted in on a 12-month contract in the hope he’ll better manage resourcing at Logan, Redland, QEII Jubilee, Princess Alexandra and the smaller Beaudesert hospitals.
Dr Ayre’s sacking follows this month’s extraordinary and politically-embarrassing standoff in which Logan Hospital emergency department (ED) nurses told paramedics to wait in their ambulances rather than bring patients inside under the state’s new rapid offload policy.
The nurses had been following directions outlined in a memo, obtained by The Courier-Mail, that contradicted the policy, which allows paramedics to leave waiting patients on stretchers in corridors and get back on the road.
Doctors and nurses have complained it puts lives at risk.
The clash prompted Queensland Health Director-General Michael Walsh to personally intervene, ordering Metro South to find a way to make the policy work.
Metro South have already spent $300,000 to hire a new chief operating officer to oversee improvements in its Patient Access Co-ordination Hub (PACS) system, which tracks Queensland Ambulance Service jobs and hospital workloads and directs paramedics to avoid overstressed EDs at critical times.