Hospital's tick for waiting times

PATIENTS at Lismore Base Hospital are receiving medical treatment faster than ever, new MyHospitals data shows.

Data uploaded to the Federal Government's MyHospitals website, which details the performance of hospitals around Australia, showed waiting times at Lismore had improved significantly on previous years.

In the 2010-2011 financial year, 82% of emergency patients were seen within 10 minutes, an improvement from 66% in 2009-2010.

Of urgent patients, 62% were seen within 30 minutes. While this was 3% below the national average, it was an improvement on the 2009-2010 figure of 54%.

Northern NSW Local Health Network chief executive Chris Crawford attributed the emergency performance to the department's hardworking staff.

"The reason for the improvement is the ED (emergency department) staff have been working hard and concentrating on flows through the ED and making sure the patients flow through in a timely fashion," he said.

"They are making sure patients are being worked on and decisions are made - they are getting admit- ted or discharged.

"All of those things, a bit of co-ordination, are working.

"It's a very small ED for a big hospital and the staff need to be congratulated for the work they do."

Across all Northern Rivers hospitals elective surgery patients generally went under the knife sooner.

At Casino Hospital patients waited on average 29 days for general surgery in 2010-11, seven days fewer than the previous year.

Patients at Ballina Hospital waited for an average of 36 days, four days more than the national average.

At Lismore, 16.5% of cataract-extraction patients had to wait more than a year for their surgery.

Mr Crawford said this category needed attention.

"Our performance in terms of eye surgery, I did not think it was quite as good as I would have liked," he said.

"Our waiting times for cataract surgery, we were under the year mark, which is a clinically acceptable time to wait.

"But 16.5% of our patients waited longer than 365 days and I think we need to do better than that.

"That's one of the keys things I got out of the data that we need to work on."


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