ON TIME: Grafton Base Hospital emergency department.
ON TIME: Grafton Base Hospital emergency department. Adam Hourigan

How do our hospitals stack up?

BOTH Grafton and Maclean Hospital's emergency departments were kept busy over the summer months, but managed to maintain their standard of care from last year.

However, Grafton Hospital's elective surgery waiting list continues to grow, while Maclean's elective surgery continues to fall to a trickle.

These insights come from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare Quarterly report for January to March 2019, released yesterday.

In Grafton, there was an increase in ED presentations of 3 per cent from last year, rising from 6426 to 6618 in the three-month period, with ambulance arrivals up 11.5 per cent to 882.

Of these presentations, there was a rise by 20 per cent of these presentations categorised as emergencies, the second most critical triage category.

Admissions to the hospital from the ED increased 14.7 per cent to 920.

Despite this, their percentage of patients who started treatment on time stayed level year on year at 80.3 per cent, up five per cent on other hospitals in their peer group, and their number of patients leaving the ED on time also ahead of their peer group, falling just 0.8 per cent from last year.

In Maclean, they had an increase of 8.7 per cent of ED presentations, recording 3481 for the period.

The arrivals by ambulance increased by 13.7 per cent in the same period.

Their admissions from the ED to the hospital increased 11.1 per cent.

And while the patients who started treatment on time fell 6.8 per cent to 77.9, just below their peer group results, 85 per cent of patients left the ED within four hours, consistent with the state average.

Maclean received a large increased in patients categorised semi-urgent, increasing 20 per cent.

Maclean's elective surgery procedures fell to just 23 over the three-month period, with all of them considered non-urgent.

Grafton's elective waiting list grew by 103, to 931 over the period, with 25 of those still considered urgent.

Overall, 504 procedures were performed in the period, a drop of 12.5 per cent.

NNSWLHD chief executive Wayne Jones said staff should be proud of their high levels of performance and quality care during unprecedented levels of activity across the board.

"Our staff are doing an incredible job delivering the best level of patient care possible in increasingly busy conditions,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said that while increased emergency presentations do place an added strain on hospital capacity which impacts on elective surgery, 99.9 per cent of urgent procedures were still performed on time.

"We did see an increase in wait time for elective procedures at some of our sites,” Mr Jones said.

"The increase in emergency procedures means we need to prioritise resources and that bumps some non-urgent elective surgery procedures down the list.

"We are working hard to bring down the number of people on the waiting list and are developing a plan with our surgeons to address this.”



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