The Bureau of Health Information has released the latest healthcare statistics for the months of January-March.
The Bureau of Health Information has released the latest healthcare statistics for the months of January-March.

REVEALED: Coffs’ surgery waiting list blowout

MORE than 2,440 locals were on the waiting list for elective surgery at Coffs Harbour Health Campus by the end of March - a 34.7 per cent spike compared to the same time last year.

This is according to the latest Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly report for the period of January to March, an unprecedented quarter which saw the healthcare system grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The waiting list figures ballooned after all non-urgent surgeries has been scaled back before they were eventually suspended on March 26 due to the pandemic.

In Coffs Harbour, there were a total of 2,445 patients on the waiting list compared to 1,815 the same time last year.

Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick said public hospitals in the region have faced unprecedented times with the impact of the bushfires and then flooding, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

"Through these challenging times, our staff have continued to work exceptionally hard to ensure we continue to provide high-quality and timely care to our patients," Mr Dowrick said.  

"At public hospitals across the district we performed 2,362 procedures and 87.4 per cent of all procedures were performed on time - an 8.5 per cent decrease on the same period last year.  

"Port Macquarie Base Hospital performed 99.4 per cent of urgent elective surgery procedures on time and Coffs Harbour Health Campus performed 99.2 per cent of these surgeries on time."  

The NSW Government has announced up to an extra $388 million will be invested to fast-track surgeries, ensuring patients will be booked in to public or private hospitals as soon as possible.  

NSW Health will host a roundtable with public and private health sectors and clinicians within the next month to determine if there are any additional measures the health system could employ to ensure elective surgeries and any other procedures occur as quickly and appropriately as possible.  

Mr Dowrick said surgery lists are being closely monitored, and any patient whose condition changes or deteriorates should speak to their treating clinician. Clinicians determine the surgical priority of their patients.

Emergency Department waiting times increased

There was a 23.9 per cent drop in non-urgent ED presentations at Coffs Harbour Health Campus during the quarter.

However there was a rise of 10.2 per cent in urgent presentations, and 13 per cent in resuscitation presentations.

Waiting times for treatment also increased, with 77.3 per cent of patients being treated on time last year falling to 73.4 per cent this year.

Median waiting times for emergency presentations increased from 6 to 7 minutes, urgent presentations increased from 17 to 20 minutes, semi-urgent from 26 to 29 minutes, and non-urgent from 28 to 29 minutes.


Longer hospital stays

The number of mental health bed days at Coffs Harbour Health Campus increased by a massive 39.7 per cent.

The same quarter last year, there was a recorded 4,101 hospital bed days for mental health. This increased to 5,603 this year.

The average length of stay increased by 8.6 days, from 16.1 to 24.7.