Bureau of Health Information, Apr-June 2019: Emergency department presentations jump in region

NUMBERS BOOMING: Thousands of extra people are arriving at emergency departments in the region's hospitals, new data shows. Photo: FILE
NUMBERS BOOMING: Thousands of extra people are arriving at emergency departments in the region's hospitals, new data shows. Photo: FILE

PATIENT numbers are booming in the region's emergency departments (ED) with medicos treating thousands more people.

There were 49,434 presentations to EDs in Western NSW from April to June 2019 which was a 10 per cent jump (4476 people) when compared to the same quarter last year.

The Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare Quarterly report shows that despite the increase in patient numbers, 79.5 per cent were treated within clinically recommended time frames.

Data shows the smallest hospitals in the region experienced the biggest surge in patient numbers presenting to the ED for treatment.

Mudgee's ED experienced the most significant influx of patients with an 18.6 per cent increase, from 2801 to 3321.

Forbes Hosptial's ED was not far behind with data showing that patient numbers increased from 1828 to 2127 (16.4 per cent).

While the number of patients presenting to Cowra Hospital's ED increased by 16.0 per cent, from 1619 to 1878.

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Source: Bureau of Health Information, Healthcare Quarterly, April to June 2019

Source: Bureau of Health Information, Healthcare Quarterly, April to June 2019

The region's largest hospital's - Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange - also saw a significant increase in presentations during the April to June quarter this year compared to figures from 2018.

Bathurst recorded a 13.6 per cent surge in patient numbers, from 6457 to 7338.

This was followed by Orange where ED presentations jumped by 12.2 per cent (from 7297 to 8188), while in Dubbo numbers increased 10.0 per cent (8387 to 9223).

Treatment within the clinically recommended time frames was also measured in the report, with Cowra top of the list with 91.1 per cent of patients being seen to on time.

This was followed by Forbes (85.0 per cent), Bathurst (83.9), Orange (73.9), Mudgee (69.0) and Dubbo (64.4).

Many patients arriving in the EDs required resuscitation with the most conducted in Orange (95), followed by Dubbo (28), Bathurst (23), Cowra (8), Mudgee (7) and Forbes (less than 5).

The vast majority of presentations at each of the region's EDs were for semi-urgent cases such as a sprained ankle or an earache.

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) chief executive Scott McLachlan said despite the increased demand, the median time for patients to leave the ED was two hours, an improvement of 10 minutes on the same quarter last year.

"Western NSW Local Health District is performing well in key areas, including complex emergency work, which is a testament to the work of our staff and the investment in our hospitals," he said.

Mr McLachlan said between mid 2012 and mid 2019 the WNSWLHD increased its workforce by an additional 478 full time equivalent staff - an increase of 10.0 per cent including 147 more doctors, 124 more nurses and midwives, and 167 more allied health staff.

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This story Thousands of extra people arriving at region's emergency departments first appeared on Mudgee Guardian.