Emergency departments across Southern NSW Local Health District continued to experience increased demand in 2019, with 2442 more presentations compared to the same quarter last year, an 8.8 per cent increase. Chief Executive of Southern NSW Local Health District, Andrew Newton said despite this increase, 83.3 per cent of patients left the region’s emergency departments within four hours, 12.7 percentage points above the State average. Mr Newton said the results from the latest Bureau of Health Information quarterly report, January to March 2019, clearly demonstrate patients treated in Southern NSW Local Health District Hospitals have waited less time in our emergency departments and are having their urgent and non-urgent elective surgery more quickly. “Across the district, our hospitals have achieved excellent results and my sincere thanks go to all the staff who have worked tirelessly to achieve these results,” Mr Newton said. “The median time to surgery for elective surgery patients across the Health District sits at 141 days for non-urgent elective surgery, an improvement of 20 days, compared with last year. “Additionally, the number of elective surgery procedures performed increased by 8.4 per cent to 1432, compared to the same period last year, a fantastic result.” Mr Newtown 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 and a further $30 million announced earlier this year for new cancer (chemotherapy) and renal service facilities as part of the project. While $18.6 million is being spent refurbishing Cooma District Hospital, $150 million has been committed to building a new health facility in the Eurobodalla. A further $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 NSW Government has also invested $2.6 million to refurbish Pambula Hospital, a $2.5 million commitment to Crookwell District Hospital announced in February this year. 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. In the Eurobodalla, Batemans Bay District Hospital recorded impressive results in its emergency department performance, with 85.6 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in the emergency department (ED). This despite 151 more patients presenting to ED, a 3.2 per cent increase on the same period last year. In addition, the median time spent in the ED was 1 hour and 35 minutes, compared to the State median of two hours and 54 minutes. The median wait time for ophthalmology surgery at Batemans Bay Hospital improved by 24 days with 100 per cent of patients receiving elective surgery on time. Every single patient at Moruya Hospital received urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent surgery on time in this quarter. The hospital also recorded a healthy performance, with the median time patients spent in the ED at two hours and 21 minutes, 33 minutes below the State median. This performance came despite a rise of 13.4 per cent in ED presentations compared to the same period last year, an extra 377 patients. The median time for patients visiting Goulburn Base Hospital emergency department was two hours and 48 minutes, a solid result considering an increase of 5.5 per cent in overall emergency department presentations, while 100 per cent of patients received urgent surgery on time. Cooma Hospital recorded 85.1 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in the emergency department, with the average time spent in the ED of 1 hour and 53 minutes, nearly one hour less than the NSW average. While 100 per cent of patients received their surgery on time. Queanbeyan Hospital recorded a median wait time in the emergency department of one hour and 58 minutes, much better than the State median, despite a 9.3 per cent increase in presentations. The result meant 89.2 per cent of patients spent four hours or less in the ED. The hospital recorded a deterioration in average wait times of 6 days for general surgery and 28 days for gynecological procedures. South East Regional Hospital (SERH) continued to increase its emergency department performance with 75.2 per cent of people spending less than four hours in ED, despite a 10.2 per cent increase in presentations, with the median time of two hours and 36 minutes. While 100 per cent of patients requiring urgent surgery, received their procedure on time. In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in recurrent health spending, representing a $1.1 billion increase over the 2017-18 Budget. This includes $19.2 billion in recurrent expenses towards improved service in hospitals in NSW in 2018-19.