NSW hospitals continually improving amidst winter hit
Public hospital emergency department performance continues to improve, showing the health system is recovering after an extremely busy winter.
Patients continued to receive high-quality, safe care at NSW public hospitals, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, winter illnesses and furloughing of staff, according to the latest Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly report (July – September 2022).
NSW Health Deputy Secretary Adjunct Professor Matthew Daly said the majority of the 744,853 emergency department patients started their treatment on time. Of those attendances, more than 340,000 (46 per cent) were in the semi-urgent and non-urgent categories.
“I wholeheartedly thank our staff for their incredible ongoing commitment. This has been one of the most challenging years on record for the health system and July to September was no exception, but we have started to see improvements in the timeliness of care provided,” Prof Daly said.
Across NSW, the majority of patients (65.6 per cent) started their treatment on time and more than seven in 10 patients (74.8 per cent) were transferred from ambulance to ED staff within the 30-minute target.
“I want to thank the community for their patience and assure people during these periods of high demand, all patients are seen and triaged on arrival at the ED and, as always, the most seriously unwell patients are treated first,” Prof Daly said.
“During busy times, those with less urgent conditions will experience longer wait times when there are large numbers of seriously unwell patients being prioritised for emergency care.”
NSW Health continues to remind the community to support us by saving emergency departments and ambulances for saving lives. If an illness or injury is not serious or life-threatening, we encourage people to call Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222, for 24-hour telephone health advice.
NSW Health also continued to make progress on reducing elective surgery wait lists, with 55,493 elective procedures performed from July to September, 1,781 more than in the preceding quarter (April to June).
Throughout the third quarter of 2022, NSW hospitals performed 55,493 elective surgeries, with almost all urgent elective surgeries (98.9 per cent) performed on time.
Public hospitals also performed almost 25,000 emergency surgeries during the quarter, but these critical and generally most complex surgical procedures are not included in the BHI report, thereby greatly under-representing the work done in operating theatres throughout the state.
“Patients waiting for elective surgery who feel their condition has deteriorated while waiting for their procedure are encouraged to contact their treating doctor for a clinical review and they can be placed in a higher urgency category if required,” he said.
The NSW Government is investing a record $33 billion in health as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget, including almost $900 million for the ongoing COVID-19 response. The NSW Government also announced the largest workforce boost in the nation’s history in the 2022-23 Budget with a $4.5 billion investment over four years for 10,148 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff to hospitals and health services across NSW.