Aerial of Lismore. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star
Aerial of Lismore. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star Jay Cronan

39% of Lismore Base patients wait more than 4 hours in ED

LISMORE Base Hospital has the longest waits in emergency departments for a regional NSW hospital, a recent report has shown.

More than a third of patients (39%) wait longer than four hours in the emergency department, said Shadow Minister for Health and Shadow Minister for the North Coast, Walt Secord.

While Lismore has the longest waits in rural and regional NSW, it is ranked ninth longest waits in emergency department in the State, Mr Secord said, referring to the Bureau of Health Information's Activity and Performance in NSW Public Hospitals - July to September 2015.

He also said that categories of elective surgery have jumped with elderly patients experiencing long waits for procedures.

Elective surgery times in Lismore have increased with Cataract removal waits increasing from 85 days to 245 days; Knee replacements increasing from 307 days to 321; and Tonsillectomies have increased from 58 days to 107 days.

Lismore is one of the State's busiest rural and regional hospitals and it sees 30,000 people in its emergency department each year.

Statewide, 30% of patients waited longer than four hours in emergency departments.

Furthermore, elective surgery waiting lists have grown from 73,063 to 73,397.

These are procedures like knee and hip replacements, cataract removal and tonsillectomies.

Mr Secord said these figures clearly show the health and hospital system is under enormous pressure and is just not coping.

Mr Secord praised hard working paramedics, nurses, doctors and other allied health professionals who are in under-resourced hospitals.

The BHI report showed 648,668 people presented to NSW emergency departments in this quarter.

Nepean Hospital topped the list with 52% of patients waiting longer than four hours in the emergency department.

"Sadly these are not just numbers, they have a human face," Mr Secord said.

"They are thousands of mothers, fathers, children and grandparents who rely on the health and hospital system.

"Lismore Base Hospital is under enormous pressure and the funding has not kept pace with demand.

"In NSW, patients wait at every stage.

"They wait for an ambulance. They wait outside hospital to get into the emergency department.

"They wait for a hospital bed and then they are rushed out of the hospital before they are fully recovered.

"This is the human cost of the Baird Government's $3 billion in health and hospital cuts.

"At the national level, unfortunately, while the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is trying to present himself as different to Tony Abbott, he has made few statements on health and hospitals policy.

"The planned $16 billion cuts at the Commonwealth have remained in place."



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