Waiting times at public hospital emergency wards across the region are improving, according to the latest statistics released by the Bureau of Health Information, but the figures are not the spectacular improvements the state government claims.
According to the report, released this morning, 71 per cent of Tweed Hospital patients and 54 per cent of Lismore Base hospital patients left the emergency department within four hours in the quarter to 30 June this year.
Lismore Base is still lagging behind the state average of 65 per cent, although the figure does represent an improvement over the previous quarter, in which just 49 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour period.
The figure for Tweed Hospital, while better than the state average, was the same as last quarter.
Some of the smaller hospitals in our region did better, with Ballina Hospital seeing 75 per cent, Casino 91 per cent and Murwillumbah 95 per cent of patients within the prescribed time. Again, these figures closely mirrored their performance in the previous quarter.
In time taken to see 95 per cent of patients, Lismore continues to have one of the longest patient queues: it takes 19 hours 34 minutes for 95 per cent of emergency patients to be seen there, compared to the state average of 11 hours 27 minutes. The same figure for the Tweed Hospital is 10 hours 10 minutes.
In terms of urgent surgery, Lismore’s performance was better, with 90 per cent of patients operated on with 24 days. The Tweed Hospital achieved the same figure over 28 days. The state average was 26 days.
Elective surgery saw a similar performance, with Lismore seeing 90 per cent of patients in 355 days and 360 at Tweed, against a state average 359 days.
Health minister Jillian Skinner congratulated hospital staff following the release of the figures.
‘The state’s hospitals are continuing their vast improvements in emergency department wait times and on-time elective surgeries and these results are testament to the dedication of our doctors, nurses and wider hospital staff,’ Ms Skinner said.
‘These improvements year to year are particularly remarkable owing to increased demand on our hospital system, including a five per cent increase in the number of elective surgeries performed,’ she added.