Lismore Base Hospital.
Lismore Base Hospital. Jacklyn Wagner

Lismore Base on sick list

LISMORE Base Hospital has emerged as one of the country's worst in terms of moving people through its emergency department.

In the report Time Patients Spent in Emergency Departments in 2011-2012, Lismore was the worst or second worst of Major Regional Hospitals in three of four categories.

In the percentage of all patients who leave emergency within four hours of their arrival, Lismore was the worst performer at 47%, against the group average of 63%.

With discharged patients leaving in the same time, Lismore again was worst in the group, at 66% compared to the average of 78%.

In terms of admitted patients moving out, Lismore was second worst at 13%, compared to a group average of 24%.

Dr Chris Ingall, from the Lismore Base Hospital, said the desperate need for more ward beds was holding back the

Dr Chris Ingall Chris Crawford
Dr Chris Ingall Chris Crawford

emergency department.

"It's to do with bed block: we need more cardiac beds; we need more single rooms for people who have infectious diseases. These are the reasons why people stay in the ED so long," he said.

"The ED staff do their best to get them out of the ED, but if there's no bed, there's no way they can do it."

Northern NSW Local Health Network chief executive, Chris Crawford, said yesterday the results in this report were from old and out-of-date data, revealed months ago by the Bureau of Health Information.

He said since they were initially reported by the state, as opposed to this broader Commonwealth report, Lismore's emergency department had improved its performance.

But he added, "Lismore Base is always going to struggle with results in comparison to other hospitals until it gets a bigger, more functional emergency department" - one with the same size and functionality as its peers.

Lismore MP Thomas George said he was "disappointed" with Lismore's rating but pointed out it had been a problem for a long time.

"I pay credit to everyone that works in the emergency department, they do a mighty job. However they need the money spent on the emergency department."

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