The latest statistics reveal waiting times are increasing on the Coffs Coast, as well as the number of patients.
The latest statistics reveal waiting times are increasing on the Coffs Coast, as well as the number of patients.

Patients are waiting longer for emergency treatment

COFFS Harbour patients are waiting longer to receive treatment at the emergency department, according to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Health Information.

Between January and March this year, the median waiting time for treatment at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital's Emergency Department was 3 hours and 6 minutes, an increase of 20 minutes from the same time last year.

Around 73.6% of patients received treatment at the recommended time, compared to 84.3% in the 2017 March quarter.

While a majority received treatment in the recommended time frame, the longest wait time peaked to just above eight hours, an hour longer than last year.

Around 68% left the ED within four hours.

It should be noted however the ED saw almost 200 more patients than it did the same time last year.

MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick said patients are still coming to hospital emergency departments for non-emergency reasons, who could receive treatment more appropriately by accessing services from their GP or local pharmacy.

He said strategies at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital have been put in place to improve patient treatment time including the addition of a Nurse Practitioner in the Emergency Department and a weekend physiotherapist during the winter months.

Overall, a total of 31,891 people attended Emergency Departments across the Mid North Coast.

"An important priority for our Local Health District is to reduce the time people spend in the Emergency Department and the latest Hospital Quarterly report shows that 76.6 per cent of patients left EDs across the district within four hours of arriving," Mr Dowrick said.

"This quarter, the average transfer of care time was 12 minutes while 90 per cent of patients arriving at Mid North Coast public hospitals by ambulance were transferred to the Emergency Department within the 30-minute benchmark.

"We will continue to work closely with clinicians to improve waiting times for patients visiting our Emergency Departments," Mr Dowrick said.

Overall the Health Quarterly report released today shows there were more than 714,000 presentations to emergency departments in NSW, an increase of 1.6% compared to the same time last year.

"There were more than 700,000 presentations to emergency departments across NSW from January to March this year and it's important that patients are treated in a timely manner, based on their clinical urgency, to meet their needs and ensure the best outcomes," BHI Chief Executive Dr Diane Watson said.

"Though we have seen overall improvements in the timeliness of treatment in emergency departments at the NSW level, there are considerable differences in performance across hospitals and so these results present an opportunity for healthcare providers to compare themselves to their peers and identify where there may be opportunities to improve."