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Hospital wait times rise

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

Waiting times for emergency and urgent treatment at the Broken Hill hospital have risen, and the State Opposition wants to know why.

According to the latest NSW Bureau of Health Information’s Quarterly Scorecard, patients are waiting minutes longer compared to the same time last year.

The statistics relate to the April to June quarter but they also show that the time patients had to spend in the local emergency department was shorter than the state average (see report below).

They show that the median waiting time for treatment in emergency had gone from six minutes to eight, and for urgent cases 13 minutes to 16.

In semi-urgent cases, the wait was now 18 minutes compared to 17, and for non-urgent it went from 16 minutes to 18.

The emergency triage includes patients with chest pain which may indicate stroke and severe burns. Urgent and semi-urgent triages include patients with moderate blood loss and sprained ankles. 

Labor’s Duty MLC for Barwon, Daniel Mookhey, said that waiting a few minutes longer might not seem much but, in emergency, minutes counted for a lot.

“Every minute counts if you have chest pain or severe burns, which are the type of medical issues this health scorecard identifies,” Mr Mookhey said. 

The scorecard also revealed that the number of people seeking treatment had also gone up.

In emergency it rose from 371 last year to 468 this year; urgent went from 1037 to 1266 and; semi urgent 1820 to 1990. However, non-urgent cases fell from 1725 to 996.

“With more people presenting to Broken Hill Emergency, the Government should be employing more health staff, rather than letting waiting times increase,” Mr Mookhey said.

Yesterday he moved a motion in the Upper House to bring parliament’s attention to the rising waiting times at not only the local hospital but at others throughout country NSW.

The motion called on Health Minister Brad Hazzard to provide an explanation to the Parliament for the blowouts, said Mr Mookhey.

“I moved this motion because of the gap between regional communities like Broken Hill and Sydney,” he said.

“Under the Nationals there is always one standard for the bush and another better standard for the big cities. We shouldn’t have to accept that.   

“These stats are saying what local doctors and nurses know: upgraded buildings are good but they don’t provide more resources for frontline staff. 

“Waiting times at Broken Hill Hospital are increasing while this out of touch Government is splurging $2.1 billion on Sydney sports stadiums.”

Comment has been sought from the Health Minister.

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