Griffith Hospital's ED care is above average

PATIENTS who presented to Griffith Base Hospital's (GBH) emergency department throughout June to September this year had treatment commenced faster than patients at the majority of hospitals across the state.

On average, patients who had major health issues, such as chest pains, had treatment commenced in just four minutes compared to the state average of eight minutes, while patients requiring urgent treatment, including moderate blood loss, waited around 16 minutes before treatment was started, six minutes less than the state average.

Semi-urgent patients were also seen to in a timeframe within the state average, but non-urgent patients waited three minutes more for treatment than what it took for the majority of patients across NSW.

The GBH emergency department had 5062 patients in the three month period, a four per cent increase on the same time last year.

The bulk of patients 2200 required semi-urgent treatment.

The figures were released in the latest quarterly report from the Bureau of Health Information, which also found 80 per cent of GBH emergency department patients left the department within four fours, above the 71 per cent National Emergency Access Target set for NSW.

The four minutes patients waited for emergency treatment was down from five minutes a year ago and a high of 17 minutes in the July to September period in 2009.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District director of operations Jill Ludford said it was extremely pleasing that despite the increase in patients, more people were being treated within emergency triage times.

Ms Ludford said this was a result of improved team work in the emergency department (ED) where all staff are aware of the importance of reducing waiting times.

"Discharge home from the wards by 10am each day also allows beds to be available for ED patients earlier in the day," Ms Ludford said.

"The hospital has a chronic disease co- ordinator who works closely with community-based services including GPs to ensure patients with multiple complex problems receive earlier treatment so there is less need to urgently attend the hospital."

The report also found GBH performed the highest number of elective surgeries since the corresponding period five years ago.

There were 321 patients who received elective surgery, almost 100 more than those who received the treatment throughout July to September in 2008.

Of those, 93 patients had urgent elective surgery, more than double the number of five years ago, while 113 surgeries were for semi-urgent treatment.

Patients had to wait an average of 13 days for urgent elective surgery, down from 20 days during the same period last year.

However, patients requiring semi-urgent surgery had to wait around 54 days, an increase from 43 days last year.

All patients were seen to within the clinically recommended timeframe.

"This is an excellent achievement and places GBH above its peers across the state," Ms Ludford said.

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