Patients are waiting longer for emergency treatment
PATIENTS at most Northern Rivers hospitals are waiting longer for treatment in emergency departments than they were last year.
Byron Central Hospital was the only Northern Rivers hospital to record more patients starting treatment on time at their emergency departments in the quarter April to June, compared with last year.
The data was released yesterday in the The Bureau of Health Information (BHI)'s Healthcare Quarterly report.
Ballina District Hospital recorded a 13 percentage point decrease on patients starting treatment on time, compared to last year for the quarter, from 85.8 per cent to 72.8 per cent.
Lismore Base Hospital recorded a 12 percentage point decrease on patients starting treatment on time compared to last year for the quarter, from 81 per cent to 69 per cent.
Casino and District Memorial Hospital recorded a 5.8 percentage point decrease on patients starting treatment on time compared to last year for the quarter, from 74.1 per cent to 68.3 per cent.
Byron Central Hospital was the only Northern Rivers hospital to buck the trend, recording a 1.7 percentage point increase on patients starting treatment on time compared to last year for the quarter, from 86 per cent to 87.7 per cent.
The whole of Northern NSW Health District recorded 77.7 per cent, a decrease of 6.2 percentage points on patients starting treatment on time, compared with same period last year.
The Northern NSW Health District includes the Lismore Base, Ballina District, Byron Central, Casino and District Memorial, Grafton Base, Maclean District, Murwillumbah District and Tweed hospitals.
The hospital's workload also increased, as Northern NSW health centres took an extra 8.3 per cent (610) arrivals at emergency department by ambulance in the quarter April - June versus the same period last year, with local increases by 9.2 per cent in Lismore, 3 per cent in Casino, 7.2 per cent in Byron Bay and 7.8 per cent in Ballina.
BHI Chief Executive Dr Diane Watson said emergency departments across NSW were once again busier than they were in the same quarter a year ago, with more presentations overall and more patients arriving by ambulance.
"A typical patient in NSW will have waited longer for their treatment to start and spent more time overall in the emergency department. However, there is considerable variation in performance when you look at the results for individual hospitals," Dr Watson said.
Labor MP Ryan Park, Shadow Minister For Health, said that under the watch of Minister Hazzard and the NSW Liberals and Nationals, hospitals across regional NSW are facing unprecedented strain as waiting lists for surgery have soared and more people are stuck in emergency departments.
"The people of NSW expect the government to make sure there's a strong, well resourced public health system that's meeting the needs of people all across our state. Today's report is clear evidence that the Premier and Minister Hazzard have failed on that score."