Emergency departments across Southern NSW Local Health District continued to experience high demand in 2018, with emergency presentations across all facilities up 8.8 per cent. This figure included patients coming to hospital emergency departments for non-emergency reasons who could receive treatment more appropriately by accessing services such as their General Practitioner or local pharmacy. Chief Executive of Southern NSW Local Health District, Andrew Newton said the time to treatment results were encouraging however, with 84.7 per cent of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours, well above the NSW average of 74.4 per cent. Mr Newton said patient wait times for elective surgery across the Health District decreased for all categories, with the most significant decrease for non-urgent surgery, which reduced by 40 days to 161 days, compared to the NSW average of 226 days. Mr Newton said successful implementation of a number of strategies at South East Regional Hospital positively impacted emergency department waiting times, despite a rise of over 10 per cent in emergency department presentations. “The results from the Bureau of Health quarterly report affirm that patients who have been treated in Southern NSW Local Health District Hospitals have waited less time in our emergency departments and are having their elective surgery more quickly,” he said. The figures come on the back of extensive investment by the NSW Government in a number of facilities across the District. $120 million is being spent redeveloping the Goulburn Health Service, delivering an upgraded Goulburn Base Hospital as the main element of the project. $10 million is being spent refurbishing Cooma District Hospital, with other significant investments being made in respect to the Braidwood MPS redevelopment while $8 million set aside for the Yass District Hospital redevelopment. Goulburn Hospital reduced average time spent in ED to 2 hours 33 minutes, compared to the NSW average of 2 hours 42 minutes, a good result considering the hospital had an increase of 7.6 per cent in overall emergency department presentations. Moruya saw a 3.4 percentage point increase in the number of patients starting treatment on time in their Emergency Department compared to the same time last year, however the hospital increased its Emergency Treatment Performance (ETP) with 84.9 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in the emergency department, a rise of 4.7 percentage points to be well ahead of the NSW average. Meanwhile Batemans Bay Hospital improved its ETP to 90.5 per cent, despite a 12.4 per cent rise in presentations. Cooma Hospital and Health Service has a portable on-site operating theatre in service while the existing operating theatre undergoes redevelopment. However, this has not affected the patient flow, with every patient receiving elective surgery within the clinically recommended time frame. Elective surgery wait times at Queanbeyan District Hospital were also positive, with 100% of patients also receiving surgery within the clinically recommended time frame. The NSW Government is investing a record $15.3 billion in acute health services in NSW this year, including $36 million for growth in emergency care services and $227 million for more inpatient hospital services. An additional $3 million will deliver more cataract removal, hip and knee replacement surgeries. “This is an excellent result and my sincere thanks go to all the staff who have worked tirelessly to achieve these results.”
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