Amid a flurry of bad news for NSW hospitals, one LHD outperformed national averages for ED performance and elective procedures.
Data from the Bureau of Health Information’s Healthcare Quarterly report for July to September 2023 showed that 99% of patients in Southern NSW LHD received their elective surgery on time, more than an 8% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
The Southern NSW LHD (SNSWLHD) was also among the state’s top performers for ED performance indicators with 81% of patients starting treatment in the recommended timeframe, significantly higher than the NSW average of 67%.
The report also showed 94% of the district’s ambulance patients were transferred to ED within 30 minutes while 76% left ED within four hours, compared to the state averages of 77% and 57% respectively.
Following the release of the bureau’s report this week, the NSW Government announced it was establishing a taskforce to tackle the state’s ED wait times.
Across NSW, ED wait times were at their highest level since BHI began its reporting in 2010 with only 57% of patients leaving within four hours, while the number of overdue surgeries increased by 61% compared to September 2022, as previously reported by Health Services Daily.
But all the news was not bad.
SNSWLHD CEO Margaret Bennett expressed her admiration for the work staff had done to deliver such “impressive results”.
“I am proud of our staff for implementing and maintaining a range of improvement strategies to achieve these impressive results,” said Ms Bennett.
“Strategies include daily huddles across all facilities, ongoing ED education programs to strengthen nursing triage protocols, regular reviews of clerical processes and systems and management of discharges and delays.
“The district continues to work hard to ensure patients requiring planned surgery receive their procedures as soon as possible following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The most important outcome of this work is that patients in Southern NSW are given the very best care.”
ED attendances across SNSWLHD increased by 7% from 2022 to around 30,000 presentations between July and September this year, with more than half categorised as semi-urgent and non-urgent, while 1362 planned surgeries were carried out across the district during the same period.
Moruya District Hospital was one of the best performing hospitals in SNSWLHD, despite recording a 20% increase in ED visits from 2022, with 98% of ambulance transfers occurring within 30 minutes and 84% of ED patients starting treatment on time from July to September 2023.
Queanbeyan Hospital reported the highest number of ED attendances across the district with more than 6500 presentations between July and September this year, followed by Goulburn Base Hospital with 5,600 attendances, a 14% increase from 2022.
The full report for July to September 2023 is available here.
In more good news for Southern NSW LHD, a new ambulatory care centre has opened at Cooma Hospital, bringing the NSW government’s $26 million redevelopment of the hospital one step closer to completion.
NEW CARE CENTRE OPENS AT COOMA HOSPITAL
The new centre will offer a combination of community nursing, child and family health, podiatry, NSW Health Pathology and specialist services, including facilities such as:
- Dedicated patient consult rooms
- Pathology collection room
- New reception and patient waiting area
- New staff offices and storage spaces
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said combining the various services under the one roof would make accessing health services much easier for those in Cooma and surrounding areas.
“Having these under the one roof will significantly enhance access to a range of health services for Cooma and the surrounding communities,” he said.
The Cooma Hospital redevelopment is due to be completed by the end of this year, aside from the construction of temporary accommodation units for new and visiting healthcare workers which are scheduled to be finished by late 2024.
The hospital’s new maternity unit was completed earlier this year in March, while the ED expansion was officially opened in July.
ELECTIVE SURGERY REACHES ALL-TIME HIGH IN TASSIE
Tasmania has the highest elective surgery rate in Australia with more than 20,000 surgeries delivered in the last two years, AIHW data has shown.
The AIHW Elective Surgery Wait Times 2022-23 report revealed unprecedented levels of elective surgery occurred in Tasmania, with the number of surgeries rising by 5% compared to 2020-21.
The state also had a record-breaking admissions rate with 37.4 elective surgery admissions per 1000 people, significantly higher than the national average of 28.3 per 1000 people.
Waiting times for elective procedures in Tasmania were 29.5 days at the 50th percentile, compared to 57 days nationally, with fewer than one in ten patients on the waiting list waiting longer than a year for their procedure.
The proportion of Tasmanians admitted for elective procedures within the clinically recommended time also increased from 57% in 2021-22 to 62% in 2022-23.
Tasmania’s Minister for Health Guy Barnett said the figures were evidence that the Rockliff Liberal government’s four-year strategy for elective surgery was a success.
“Our clinician-led elective surgery plan continues to work, with record levels of surgery delivered in the last 12 months, and the length of wait time falling significantly”, Minister Barnett said.
“I would like to thank our incredible doctors, nurses and health professionals for their hard work in delivering this plan and helping more Tasmanians get the care they need.
“We will continue to take action in the third year of our elective surgery plan, to ensure more Tasmanians receive their surgery sooner.”