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Hospital scores a bullseye

Tuesday, 30th July, 2013

By Erica Visser

More than three quarters of NSW hospitals have failed to meet a target for treating emergency patients within four hours, but Broken Hill Hospital was an outstanding exception. 

The figures came from the National Emergency Access Target (NEAT) and were taken during the first three months of this year.

Just nine in 44 of the State’s hospitals managed to meet the target, treating at least 71 per cent of emergency patients within four hours.

Broken Hill Hospital Emergency Department (ED) was the most rural hospital in the list of successful hospitals which included Manly, Belmont, Kempsey and Ryde emergency wards.

The local ED managed to easily pass the target, discharging 84 per cent of patients within four hours of their arrival. More than half of them spent just two hours at the ED.

Within the three-month period, the ED treated 5380 people.

A local Health Service spokesman said that it was pleased that the ED had met the target.

“The Broken Hill Health Service is pleased that the ED has significantly improved finalising treatment of patients in the ED within the four hour target,” he said.

“This result was achieved through a whole hospital effort, particularly due to increased focus on moving patients from the ED as quickly as reasonably possible.  

“The target achieved is a reflection of all departments associated with inpatient care functioning and integrating well to provide appropriate, timely and quality treatment.”

The Health Service now aims to improve the figure to 90 per cent of patients by the end of next year.

“It’s hoped that in spending less time in the ED, people who need more involved or intensive care can receive that care on the wards,” the spokesman said.

“It will also relieve congestion in the ED for rapid assessment of new patients.”

However, the spokesman said that there were occasions when delays were inevitable.

“While we aim to see and treat all patients as quickly as possible, there are of course times when the presence of very sick patients in the emergency department or hospital will lead to delays in treatment of less urgent patients,” he said.

“While we are all proud of our achievement in exceeding these targets we continue to ask for the patience and understanding of the community during these busier times.”

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