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Health District Hospitals Cope With Covid-19 Demands

Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) Emergency Departments (EDs)

continued to perform well in the April to June quarter while dealing with the impacts

of COVID-19 on local services.

The latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) quarterly report shows that more than

21,500 people presented to the District’s EDs from April to June 2020, a decrease of

26.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

Chief Executive of SNSWLHD, Margaret Bennett, said “The decrease in overall

presentations to the District’s emergency departments was similarly seen across the

state throughout this quarter, which is partly attributable to COVID-19 restrictions such

as stay-home measures.”

"While we experienced a drop in presentations, clinicians have been kept busy with

COVID-19, with a total of 11,164 tests completed across the District in both inpatient

and outpatient settings during that period alone.

84.6 per cent of patients left the ED within four hours, compared with a NSW state

result of 75.3 per cent, up 0.8 per cent on the same quarter in 2019.

“The most urgent patients in our emergency departments were treated more quickly

and, importantly, 100 per cent of urgent surgeries were performed on time.”

“All our staff are doing a wonderful job providing the best quality patient care during

this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the District performed better

than the statewide results, with urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent surgery

procedures all performing ahead of the state average.”

Ms Bennett said the figures come on the back of extensive investment by the NSW

Government in a number of facilities across the District, including the $150 million

Goulburn Hospital and Health Service redevelopment, with an upgraded Goulburn

Base Hospital as the main element of the project.

Furthermore, $18.6 million is being spent redeveloping Cooma Hospital, and $150

million has been committed to building a new health facility in Eurobodalla.

A total of $8 million spent on the Yass Hospital redevelopment, with funding for the

Braidwood Multipurpose Service (MPS) redevelopment coming from the $304 million

State-wide program of works to upgrade MPS facilities in a number of rural and

remote communities across NSW.


At Crookwell District Hospital, $2.5 million has been committed for refurbishment

works.

The NSW Government has committed $800 million extra funding over two years on

top of the 2019-20 Health Budget of $26.7 billion to help boost ICU capacity and

purchase additional services and medical equipment, to help respond to COVID-19.

Individual Hospital Results:

Batemans Bay District Hospital had 2,562 ED presentations, down 36.0 per cent,

or 1,438 fewer people compared with the same quarter in 2019. The proportion of

patients leaving the ED within four hours was 85.9 per cent, well ahead of the state

target, while the median time to leave the ED was one hour 44 minutes, well ahead

of the NSW median.

At Moruya District Hospital, had almost 2,200 ED attendances, and recorded

improvement in ED performance, with 78.7 per cent of patients leaving the ED within

four hours, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points compared with the same period

in 2019. Meanwhile, the median time to leave the ED was two hours 19 minutes,

ahead of the NSW median.

Like other hospitals across the district, Goulburn Base Hospital ED experienced a

decrease of 22.9 per cent or 1,115 presentations compared to the same period in

2019. During the quarter 76.3 per cent of patients left the ED within four hours, which

was a 0.3 percentage point improvement and ahead of the state average. All patients

who were admitted for urgent elective surgery were admitted on time.

In the mental health setting, 3.8 per cent of events resulted in a seclusion event, an

increase of 0.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, with a physical restraint

event occurring in 9 per cent of episodes, an increase of 3.3 per cent. The per cent

and rates of seclusion and restraint events are volatile, and changes across periods

should be considered with caution.

Like other hospitals across the district, Cooma Hospital recorded a decrease in ED

presentations, with 2,029 over the quarter, a drop of 25 per cent compared to the

same quarter in 2019. Cooma Hospital was above the state target and on par with

peer group results in ED performance, with 85.2 per cent of patients leaving the ED

within four hours of presentation.

More than 92 per cent of elective surgery was performed on time during the quarter

which was ahead of the State and peer group average. This was despite the Federal

Government’s nation-wide direction to cease non-urgent surgeries on 26 March.

Like other hospitals across the district, Queanbeyan Hospital recorded a 26.8 per

cent decrease in ED presentations, down to 4,510, or 1,649 fewer patients,

compared to the same quarter in 2019. A total of 88.4 per cent of patients left the ED

within four hours, ahead of the state target and the peer group average.


Elective surgery performance at the hospital remained strong, with 100 per cent of

urgent surgery performed on time, and performance across all categories was above

the state and peer group average.


This was despite the Federal Government’s nation-wide direction to cease non-

urgent surgeries on 26 March.


South East Regional Hospital (SERH) saw an increase in the number of T1

(resuscitation) and T2 (emergency) presentations during the quarter. Despite the

increase in these categories, 85.5 per cent of patients started their treatment on time,

ahead of the state and peer group average.

Elective surgery performance at the hospital remained strong, with 100 per cent of

urgent surgery performed on time, and performance across all categories was above

the state and peer group average.


This was despite the Federal Government’s nation-wide direction to cease non-

urgent surgeries on 26 March.


South East Regional Hospital recorded no seclusion events during the period and a

drop of 1.8 percentage points in physical restraint events, down to 2.7 per cent of

episodes.

The 2019-20 budget for Southern New South Wales Local Health District

(SNSWLHD) is almost $434 million. This is an increase of nearly $13 million on the

previous financial year’s budget.

Between mid-2012 and mid-2019, the Southern New South Wales Local Health

District increased its workforce by an additional 467 full time equivalent staff - an

increase of 26.4 per cent including 49 more doctors, 158 more nurses and midwives,

and 68 more allied health staff.

The NSW Government is also investing $2.8 billion to recruit 8,300 extra frontline staff

over the next four years, including an additional 5,000 nurses and midwives.


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