Port Macquarie Base Hospital records improved patient times through its emergency department

Good outcomes: Port Macquarie Base Hospital has reported improved times through its accident and emergency department during the quarter from April, 2018.
Good outcomes: Port Macquarie Base Hospital has reported improved times through its accident and emergency department during the quarter from April, 2018.

Port Macquarie Base Hospital has improved its emergency department performance, according to the latest figures in the latest Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly report.

The report covers April to June 2018.

The data shows that patients were treated more quickly across the four triage category times. The categories cover emergency, urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent.

According to the figures, the median time to treatment for patients at the highest level dropped from 9 minutes for the same period in 2017 to 7 minutes this quarter.

For urgent cases, the median time to treatment improved from 19 minutes to 15 minutes while semi-urgent matters improved from 27 minutes to 18 minutes.

In non-urgent cases, the median time to treatment improved from 27 minutes to 15 minutes.

The percentage for patients starting treatment on time improved from 73.1 per cent to 83.8 per cent.

In the elective surgery performance, comparing April to June 2018 with the same period 12 months ago, there was further good news.

The median waiting time (days) for urgent surgery rose one day from 13 days to 14 days although semi-urgent waiting days improved from 48 days to 45 days.

In the non-urgent category, there was a significant improvement in the median waiting time from 273 days to 259 days.

In the elective surgery procedures performed from April to June 208 there were 951 patients while for the same period in 2017 the figure was 960.

For patients on the waiting list for elective surgery, at the end of the quarter, the 2018 figure was 1095 compared with 1213 in 2017.

The number of presentations to the accident and emergency department also dropped slightly for the reporting period.

In 2018 the figure was 8498 compared with 8479 in 2017.

Reduced time: The report shows that 77.5 per cent of patients left EDs across the district within four hours of arriving.

Reduced time: The report shows that 77.5 per cent of patients left EDs across the district within four hours of arriving.

Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said from April to June 2018, 30,382 people attended emergency departments at public hospitals across the district - Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Macksville and Coffs Harbour - 517 more than the same time last year.

“An important priority for our local health district is to reduce the time people spend in the emergency department," he said.

"The report shows that 77.5 per cent of patients left EDs across the district within four hours of arriving.

“This quarter, the average time it took for a patient to be transferred from the care of paramedics to emergency department staff was 11 minutes.

“We saw 90.4 per cent of patients who arrived at Mid North Coast public hospitals by ambulance transferred to the Emergency Department within the 30-minute benchmark.

“We will continue to work closely with clinicians to improve waiting times for patients visiting our emergency departments,” Mr Dowrick said.

The 2018-19 budget for the local health district is over $634 million, an increase of nearly $28 million on the 2017-18 annualised budget.

Between June 2012 and June 2018 MNCLHD increased its workforce by an additional 686 full time equivalent staff – an increase of over 25 per cent, including 88 more doctors and 306 more nurses.

While the local health district reported some positive improvements in patient treatment times through the emergency department, the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association says the quarterly report shows that across the state emergency department's are under pressure.

Association general secretary Brett Holmes says the year-on-year pressure on our public hospitals was taking a toll on nurses and midwives.

“We know presentations are rising, yet nurses and midwives are taking on that increased workload," he said.

"It’s unsustainable to rely on a staffing model that we now know is being manipulated to save costs.”

The NSWNMA is campaigning for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in every ward, on every shift across all major and district NSW hospitals.

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