Lismore Base improving but way off national targets

NORTHERN Rivers hospitals are improving their performance in emergency department performance and elective surgery waiting times, new official figures show.

A new report released by the Bureau of Health Information shows gains for the region's hospitals in the two key areas between April and June this year.

The report shows a slight improvement in emergency department waiting times at Lismore Base Hospital, leaving the facility significantly below the National Emergency Access Target, which recommends 71% of patients who present to emergency be treated within four hours.

Of the 6976 patients who presented to Lismore's emergency department between April and June this year, only 54% of patients left within four hours.

At Ballina Hospital, the emergency department had 3842 patients in its emergency department in the last quarter.

However, like Lismore Base Hospital, Ballina Hospital was also below the NSW average treatment time - in its case by about 4%.

Casino Hospital beat the national target, with 91% of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours of their arrival, beating the state benchmark by 20%.

The performance of the state's hospitals has gained an extra level of importance this year, with NSW Health able to access extra Federal funding if its overall emergency department processing time meets the 71% target.

The report also showed elective surgery waiting times at all three hospitals had improved with 100% of patients receiving urgent surgery within the clinically recommended timeframe at Casino, Lismore and Ballina hospitals.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said NSW was tracking well to meeting the national target by the end of the year.

"The state's hospitals are continuing their vast improvements in emergency department wait times and on-time elective surgeries and these results are a testament to the dedication of our doctors, nurses and wider hospital staff," Mrs Skinner said.

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