Report shows people wait longer in Northern NSW Hospitals

AMBULANCE patients at more than half of Northern NSW Local Health District hospitals are waiting longer to see a doctor than the state average.

The Bureau of Health Information's new quarterly hospital report revealed a surge in emergency presentations, to 672,000 patients across the state from January to March.

Despite the 4% increase on last year, ambulance transfer times still broke records with 91% of patients seeing a doctor within half an hour of arriving at hospital.

The Tweed Hospital had the NNSWLHD's best transfer figures at 96%, followed by Murwillumbah District (93%) and Grafton Base (91%).

But the rest all fell short of the state average.

Ballina District Hospital recorded a 90% transfer rate, followed by Maclean District (85%) and Casino and District Memorial (80%).

Lismore Base Hospital was the worst performer with just 77% of ambulance patients being transferred within 30 minutes.

Instances of elective surgeries dropped about 1% across NSW compared to the same quarter last year.

BHI chief executive Jean-Frederic Levesque said the lighter workload did not translate into shorter waiting times.

"Despite the reduction in elective surgeries performed, fewer patients received their surgery on time compared with the same time one year ago," Dr Levesque said.

Overall 97% of patients received their elective surgery within clinically recommended time frames.

The percentage of patients who left the emergency department within four hours of presentation also dropped one percentage point to 74%.

It was still a strong improvement on 2011, when just 60% of emergency patients met the four-hour turnover target despite there being 130,000 fewer presentations. -ARM NEWSDESK


THE FACTS - What percentage of people were transferred within 30 minutes from ambulance to doctor

The Tweed - 96%

Murwillumbah District - 93%

Grafton Base - 91%

Ballina District - 90%

Maclean District - 85%

Casino and District Memorial - 80%

Lismore Base - 77%

NSW - 91%

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