Australia's shortage of hospital beds could be resolved if the federal government did its job and got elderly people and those with disabilities into proper care, Queensland's health minister says.
Yvette D'Ath says health ministers from every state and territory voiced serious concerns at a meeting last week about how many hospital beds are being occupied unnecessarily.
She says hospitals nationwide are full of people who should be in care elsewhere, either under the NDIS, or aged-care support packages.
"In Queensland, there is almost 600 beds - over $5 million a week - of people in hospitals who don't need to be there," Ms D'Ath told reporters on Monday.
She said the commonwealth had committed to working with the states and territories to resolving the problem.
She said the National Disability Insurance Agency proved last year, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, that it could be done.
"(They) did it very well, moved people out of those beds very quickly, but we've gone straight back to to the way it used to operate," Ms D'Ath said.
"We know they can do it. We need the commonwealth to make sure they are supporting people with disabilities, getting them out of hospital and into proper care."
She said federal government action would mean immediate relief for Queensland's health system.
"We hear a lot of the health stakeholders saying we need at least another 250 beds. Well, we've got the capacity to create almost 600 immediately.
"That would be like replicating the Cairns hospital. We can ease the pressures .. on bed capacity, in our emergency departments, and with our ambulances if the commonwealth steps in and provides the support for these individuals."
Australian Associated Press