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Shorter stay for patients in NBMLHD emergency departments

19 Jun 2020


Patients are being seen faster and spending less time in emergency departments (EDs) across the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District according to the latest report from the independent Bureau of Health Information.

NBMLHD Chief Executive Kay Hyman says staff have worked hard to ensure patients receive timely high quality care despite significant health emergencies – including the unprecedented global health pandemic – impacting on communities across the District.

“Widespread and severe summer bushfires in the District, poor air quality and the COVID-19 pandemic have made the first quarter of 2020 particularly challenging for our patients and staff,” says Mrs Hyman.

In the January to March 2020 quarter, 64.6 percent of patients started their ED treatment on time – an increase of 0.9 percentage points.

Patients were also treated and discharged, or admitted to hospital sooner, with 65.4 percent of patients leaving the ED within the benchmark four hours – an increase of 0.6 percentage points.

The median time to leave the ED also decreased by four minutes to three hours and 15 minutes.

“Almost 50 percent of the 32,261 emergency department attendances were patients in the most serious triage categories of resuscitation, emergency and urgent,” says Mrs Hyman.

“Arrivals by ambulance to our District’s emergency departments increased by 4.8 percent to 8,834 or an additional 408 arrivals. Despite this increase, 91.9 percent of patients arriving by ambulance still had their care transferred within the target timeframes.”

There was a decrease in presentations of patients in the semi-urgent category (down 7.3 percent) and non-urgent category (down 11.9 percent).

This contributed to an overall decrease in emergency presentations by 975. In elective surgery, there was a welcome decrease of 15 days in the median waiting time for patients needing non-urgent surgery.

Compared to the same time last year there were an additional 82 urgent elective procedures performed, an increase of 17.6 percent.

Across NBMLHD public hospitals, 1,038 babies were born in January to March 2020.

The 2019-20 budget for Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District is over $873 million, this is an increase of more than $34 million on the 2018-19 budget.

The NSW Government has announced up to an extra $388 million will be invested to fast-track elective surgeries across the state which were delayed as a result of the National Cabinet decision, ensuring they will be booked in to public or private hospitals as soon as possible.

NSW Health will host a roundtable with public and private health sectors and clinicians within the next month to determine if there are any additional measures the health system could employ to ensure elective surgeries and any other procedures occur as quickly and appropriately as possible.

Surgery lists are being closely monitored, and any patient whose condition changes or deteriorates should speak to their treating clinician. Clinicians determine the surgical priority of their patients.

The NSW Government has committed $800 million extra funding over two years on top of the 2019-20 Health Budget of $26.7 billion to help boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment, to help respond to COVID-19.