THE Hunter's emergency departments have been busier than they were a year ago, a new report shows.
The Bureau of Health Information's latest Healthcare Quarterly shows hospital emergency departments within Hunter New England saw 106,923 patients from April to June, 2019 - up 5.2 per cent from the same time last year.
The John Hunter Hospital alone had 21,016 emergency department (ED) presentations in the quarter, an increase of 7.1 per cent from last year. Of all patients, 71.4 per cent started treatment within clinically recommended timeframes - a drop of almost six per cent from from the same time last year.
Almost 60 per cent of patients left the John Hunter Hospital ED within four hours.
It took patients an average of three hours and 17 minutes to be treated and discharged from John Hunter, and just over five hours to be treated and admitted to the hospital.
Belmont Hospital had a 17 per cent rise in the number of ED patients in the quarter, while the number of presentations at Kurri Kurri Hospital dropped almost 20 per cent.
The Calvary Mater saw a 7.7 per cent jump in emergency presentations, and at Maitland Hospital, 64.4 per cent of patients started treatment on time - down 7.6 percentage points from last year.
Michael DiRienzo, chief executive of Hunter New England Health, said nearly 99 per cent of all 7774 elective surgeries were performed on time across the region.
"Of the district's 15 hospitals captured in the BHI report, nine ranked perfectly for performing elective surgeries on time, which is pleasing to see," he said. "On top of this, 100 per cent of all urgent elective surgeries across the District were performed on time."
Mr DiRienzo said they were "working hard" to improve the patient experience through reductions in ED waiting times.
"Our EDs saw 106,923 patients from April to June 2019, over 5000 more, or a 5.2 per cent increase on the same period last year, with almost three quarters of those patients being seen within the recommended timeframes," he said. "More than 78,000 patients, or 73 per cent, also left the ED within the benchmark of four hours, with the average time in the ED being two and a half hours."
Across NSW, there were more than 754,000 presentations to EDs, an increase of 8.2 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2018.
"Emergency departments were once again busier than they were in the same quarter a year ago, with more presentations overall and more patients arriving by ambulance," BHI chief executive, Dr Diane Watson, said.
"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."
The report shows that the April to June 2019 quarter was also a busy one for NSW Ambulance, with almost 310,000 responses - up 9.7 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.
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