The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) again experienced a busy April – June 2018 quarter in emergency departments and for elective surgery.
In total, 44,959 emergency patients presented to WNSWLHD Emergency Departments, including 182 cases requiring resuscitation and 4,570 in the Emergency category. Increases in both of these categories suggest the continued improvement of local hospitals to handle complex emergency cases, rather than being transferred to metropolitan facilities.
Chief Executive of the WNSWLHD, Scott McLachlan, said the LHD was continuing to perform well in key areas.
“It’s a priority for the WNSWLHD that we get patients to the facility which is best placed to address their health needs as quickly as possible, and that we provide that care as close to where they live as possible.
“We can see that more complex emergency work is being done in the LHD, which is a strong indicator of the maturing of the services we provide locally.
“At the same time, our hospitals are responding well to the increasing demand for elective surgery.
“These are results our staff should be justifiably proud of,” said Mr McLachlan.
The median time taken to transfer care from ambulance to hospital staff improved slightly to 10 minutes, and 92.5 per cent of patients had their care transferred within the 30 minute benchmark. This was a 3 percentage point improvement on the same quarter last year, and above the state average.
There were 2,868 elective surgery procedures performed in the LHD’s hospitals, an increase of 176, or 6.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. The District had an outstanding result of delivering 99.3 per cent of those procedures within clinically recommended times.
The 2018-19 budget for WNSWLHD is over $941 million, an increase of over $40 million on the 2017-18 annualised budget.
Between mid-2012 and mid-2018 WNSWLHD has increased its workforce by an additional 278 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 5.8 per cent including 65 more doctors and 72 more nurses.
In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in health, representing a $1.1 billion increase over the 2017-18 Budget. This includes $19.2 billion towards improving services in hospitals in NSW this year.
Staff responded well to substantial increases in the highest urgency classifications of emergency department presentations. Compared to the same quarter last year, there were 178 more patients in the Resuscitation and Emergency categories treated in the Bathurst ED, up 47.6 per cent and 30.6 per cent respectively.
Despite this growing demand, the proportion of patients whose treatment started on time improved by 1.1 percentage point, and the median time taken to transfer patients from an ambulance to the hospital was less than 10 minutes.
General Manager at Bathurst, Cathy Marshall, said a number of strategies have been put in place to maintain a strong performance in the emergency department, including utilising nurse practitioners and focusing on transferring patients safely and efficiently through ED and wards.
Bathurst Hospital also had an increase of more than six per cent in the number of elective surgical procedures in the quarter, up to 499 with 98.9 per cent performed on time.
Cowra Hospital experienced a decrease in emergency presentations. 90 per cent of patients commenced their treatment within clinically recommended times.
The hospital performed 151 elective surgeries overall compared to last year, an increase of 20.8 per cent. 100 per cent of elective surgeries were performed on time.
Dubbo Hospital experienced a slight reduction of one per cent in the number of emergency presentations, and there was a significant increase of 4.6 percentage points of patients who started their ED treatment on time.
Dubbo Health Service General Manager, Debra Bickerton said permanent increases in emergency department staffing had helped achieve reductions in the time taken to commence treatment across all emergency department categories during the quarter.
Dubbo Hospital performed 1,018 elective surgeries in the period, up 15.8 per cent from the same quarter last year, with 98.7 per cent of all elective surgeries performed on time. There were substantial reductions in the median waiting time for patients needing cataract surgery or total hip or total knee replacements, demonstrating the impact of the Government’s additional funding for surgery.
Forbes Hospital experienced an overall reduction of more than six per cent in emergency department presentations, however there were substantial increases in the urgent and semi-urgent categories, up by 13 people to 16.7 per cent and 91 people to 14.3 per cent respectively. The proportion of patients starting their treatment on time was 87.2 per cent.
There were improvements in the time taken for patients to leave the ED, including 93 per cent of patients leaving the ED within four hours of presentation, a result of both reduced presentations and admissions to hospital and the utilisation of a Clinical Nurse Specialist to review patients who are re-presenting to the emergency department.
Forbes performed 87 elective surgeries, similar to the same period last year with 100 per cent of elective surgery performed on time.
Emergency presentations remained relatively stable at Mudgee Hospital. The hospital performed 140 elective surgeries, with 100 per cent performed on time.
Orange Health Service
Emergency presentations at Orange increased by 2.1 per cent in the quarter, with the number of resuscitation cases treated at Orange increasing by nearly 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The hospital performed 876 elective surgeries, with 99.9 per cent performed on time.