Waiting time performance strong despite demand
February data has revealed that Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is continuing its strong waiting time performance despite facing escalating levels of patient demand.
All elective surgery patients were treated on time during February and the bulk of the most urgent emergency patients were triaged within clinically recommended timeframes, despite a 15% year-on-year increase in presentations.
The overall increase included a significant 40% increase in the number of second most urgent category of emergency patients.
“Our elective surgery patients have among the shortest wait times in the state, while our emergency teams are responding strongly to the challenge of increasing presentations,” WBHHS Chief Executive Adrian Pennington said.
“To consistently treat our elective surgery patients within their recommended waiting times is a great achievement. It’s a real credit to our teams who have continued to achieve this month after month.
“Our elective surgery patients know they will receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time, due to the proven and sustainable results that our theatre teams have achieved over a significant period of time.”
Mr Pennington said the continuing increase in presentations to WBHHS emergency departments was a constant challenge, but the ED teams kept rising to that challenge and were providing a great service to the community.
“Having a 40% increase in Category 2 patients during February created immense pressure, as these patients with severe and urgent conditions require more resourcing from our clinical teams,” he said.
“All our Category 1 patients were triaged within the recommended time, while 84% of our Category 2 patients were treated in their recommended timeframe, which is above the national standard.
“This really is an outstanding result considering the significant jump in patient numbers.”
The significant increase in more urgent emergency presentations during February did cause some longer waits for patients in lower categories, but WBHHS has undertaken a number of steps to increase capacity and improve patient flow.
“The most urgent patients always are given priority when they arrive in the emergency department, so it’s not surprising that when we have a 40% increase in Category 2 patients that it has resulted in Category 3 and 4 patients waiting longer for treatment,” Mr Pennington said.
“As a health service we’re only too aware of the challenges increased presentation numbers have created, so we’ve undertaken a number of steps to improve our capacity and patient flow.
“These steps including the recent opening of the new Hervey Bay Hospital Emergency Department, current upgrade work on the Maryborough Hospital emergency department and opening additional medical beds at Bundaberg.
“We’ve increased our emergency department capacity with these projects, but have also provided extra inpatient beds which allows our staff to admit patients from emergency into the hospital, which frees emergency beds faster for other patients waiting for treatment.
“These actions will start to help our waiting lists in the upcoming months and are important to our long-term planning as a health service.”