Latest hospital stats see a rise in elective surgery

LISMORE'S elective surgery wait list has jumped 19%, but there are fewer people presenting at the emergency department.

The NSW Bureau of Health Information Hospital Quarterly report shows Lismore Base Hospital admitted 7575 patients over the last three months of 2015.

The average length of stay was 3.1 days.

The report reveals the emergency department was slightly less busy as 7631 patients came through the doors - this was a 2% decrease on the December 2014 quarter.

About 2159 patients arrived by ambulance at the end of 2015 and 64% of ED patients were discharged within four hours - a 5% decrease on 2014.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said Lismore could do better with its discharge rate.

"… there is certainly room for improvement," she said.

Northern NSW Local Health District chief of staff Wayne Jones agreed with Ms Skinner's comment but said things would change once the emergency department had moved to its new building in a few months.

"It will be four times the floor space, purpose designed and offer new models of care," Mr Jones said.

"The staff are working hard in a very old and tired environment at the moment."

The final quarter of last year saw the waiting list for elective surgeries jump 19% to 1576 patients, compared to 1320 patients at the end of 2014.

The BHI data also shows surgeons performed 1066 elective operations, a drop of 2% on the previous year.

About 93% of patients received their elective surgeries on time at the end of 2015 - a decrease of 6% on the same period.

There was a 10-day median wait for urgent operations, a 50-day wait for semi-urgent patients and a 304-day wait for those in the non-urgent category.

Mr Jones said the hospital was re-adjusting its surgery schedules to reduce the emergency department's workload.

"So some people who would be considered semi-urgent could go under a planned model of care instead of the emergency approach," he said.

BHI chief executive Jean-Frederic Levesque said the data would help authorities plan for the region's health needs into the future.

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