Local Health District continued to experience increased demand in 2018, with 681 more emergency presentations compared to the same quarter last year, a 2.7 percentage point increase. Chief Executive of Southern NSW Local Health District, Andrew Newton said despite this increase, 83 per cent of patients left the emergency department within four hours, a slight increase on last year of 0.3 per cent. Mr Newton said the results from the Bureau of Health Information quarterly report July to September 2018 clearly demonstrate patients treated in Southern NSW Local Health District Hospitals have waited less time in our emergency departments and are having their elective surgery more quickly.
“The median patient wait times for elective surgery across the Health District sits at 160 days for non-urgent elective surgery, compared to the NSW median of 228 days. The number of elective surgery procedures performed increased by 11.8 percent to 1601,” he said. The figures come on the back of extensive investment by the NSW Government in a number of facilities across the District, with $120 million being spent redeveloping the Goulburn Health Service, with an upgraded Goulburn Base Hospital as the main element of the project. While $18.6 million is being spent refurbishing Cooma District Hospital, $8 million has been set aside for the Yass District Hospital redevelopment, with funding for the Braidwood MultiPurpose Service (MPS) redevelopment coming from the $300-million State-wide program of works to upgrade MPS facilities in a number of rural and remote communities across NSW. The 2018-19 budget for Southern NSW Local Health District is over $419 million, an increase of over $16 million on the 2017-18 annualised budget. Between mid-2012 and mid-2018, the Health District has increased its workforce by an additional 440 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 24.9 per cent, including 28 more doctors and 142 more nurses. Batemans Bay District Hospital recorded impressive results in its emergency department performance, with 86 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in the emergency department (ED) (1.3 percentage point increase). This is despite 324 more patients presenting to ED, an 8 per cent increase on the same period last year. In addition, the median time spent in the ED dropped to 57 minutes (reduction of 7 minutes from same quarter last year), compared to the State median of two hours and 52 minutes. Meanwhile, the median time spent waiting for ophthalmology surgery dropped by 53 days, with 100 per cent of urgent surgery performed within the clinically recommended timeframes. The median time for patients visiting Goulburn Base Hospital emergency department was two hours and 36 minutes, a solid result considering an increase of 3.7 per cent in overall emergency department presentations. In the Eurobodalla, Moruya recorded a healthy performance, with the median time patients spent in the ED at two hours and 24 minutes, compared to the NSW average of two hours and 52 minutes. Batemans Bay Hospital recorded a median of 57 minutes. At both sites 100 per cent of patients received surgery within the clinically recommended timeframes. Cooma Hospital and Health Service recorded 84.3 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in ED, meanwhile despite recording a six percent increase in ED presentations, while Queanbeyan Health Service recorded a median wait time of two hours and ten minutes, well below the NSW median. South East Regional Hospital (SERH) continued to increase its emergency department performance with 74.1 per cent of people spending less than four hours in ED, with the median time of two hours and 33 minutes. “This is an excellent result and my sincere thanks go to all the staff who have worked tirelessly to achieve these results.” 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.