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All urgent ED patients seen immediately

19 July 2019

Emergency departments across the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service are seeing most presentations within recommended waiting times.

All Category 1 emergency department presentations in the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area and Cape York, which constitute the sickest and most critically injured patients, were seen immediately during June, the latest performance data shows.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr Tony Brown said a total of 1979 people were seen in emergency departments across the region in June.

This was a 10 per cent increase compared to June 2018.

“Across all five emergency categories – with one being the most urgent and five being the least – the median waiting time was 8 minutes, with 92 per cent of all presentations seen within the clinically recommended waiting times for their category,’’ Dr Brown said.

“The percentage of patients requiring hospitalisation, who were admitted to hospital within 4 hours across all 5 categories in June was 87 per cent, above the benchmark standard of 80 per cent.

“In regional areas like ours, this proportion can be affected by the number of patients awaiting aerial evacuation to a larger hospital for more complex treatment.

“For the sake of patient safety, patients awaiting evacuation elsewhere are managed in the Emergency Department until their retrieval flight arrives.

“This may require a stay of longer than 4 hours in the ED.

“Some patients may also require more than a four-hour stay while tests such as medical imaging and pathology are done to diagnose their condition.

“For patients who did not require hospitalisation, 93 per cent across all categories were in and out of emergency within 4 hours during June, well above the target of 80 per cent.’’

Dr Brown said 22 elective surgery patients were treated in June 2019 in the Torres and Cape HHS region.

All those treated had their treatment within the clinically recommended waiting time for their categories.

As at 30 June, no patients who were ready for surgery were waiting longer than clinically recommended for their surgery.

The average waiting time for Category 1 elective surgery patients in June was 1 day, well below the recommended waiting time of 30 days for the category.

Category 2 elective surgery patients waited an average of 69 days, below the recommended waiting time of 90 days.

There were no Category 3 elective surgery patients in June.

“Torres and Cape HHS delivers an extensive range of specialist surgical services, both visiting and in-house, as part of its elective surgery programme management,’’ Dr Brown said.

“The combination of visiting and in-house specialist services means that Torres and Cape residents can obtain most specialist  consultations within their local community, reducing the impact of having to travel or waiting longer than clinically recommended for assessment and treatment.

“Among other initiatives designed to meet elective surgery performance targets, it should be noted that Thursday Island Hospital has increased the use of its operating theatre suite to minimise the number of clients requiring travel outside of the region and reduce waiting times for procedures.

“Thursday Island Hospital also is training another doctor to perform endoscopy procedures – and this also will reduce clients needing to travel.’

“An additional doctor who is being trained at Thursday Island Hospital to perform endoscopy procedures is nearing ability to work autonomously – and this also will reduce clients needing to travel.’’

Last updated: 24 July 2019