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Report highlights a year of achievement

The 2018-19 financial year proved to be another landmark year for Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, in which it continued to sustainably meet wait list and performance targets, built capacity and planned for future infrastructure, and led an exciting process to establish a regional medical program.

All these achievements – detailed in the WBHHS Annual Report 2018-19, tabled in Parliament today – occurred within an environment of growing patient demand, both in terms of numbers and complexity.

Key numbers from the report include:

  • 121,299 emergency department presentations (up 2.8% year-on-year)
  • 36,046 patients admitted from the emergency department (up 7.9%)
  • 305,728 outpatient occasions of service (up 8.3%)
  • 340,596 oral health occasions of service (up 8.5%)
  • 3,831 endoscopies (up 2.7%)
  • 6,619 telehealth appointments (up 2.9%).

Despite that increased demand, WBHHS achieved the significant milestone of delivering an Emergency Length of Stay of no more than four hours for 80.4% of patients in all its emergency departments across the region. The Queensland benchmark is 80%.

The HHS also maintained its elective surgery waiting list targets for the fifth consecutive year and met its specialist outpatients and endoscopy waiting list targets for the third consecutive year.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson praised the unwavering dedication of WBHHS doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners, administration officers, managers and operational staff for the service’s outstanding achievements.

“The 2018-19 annual report really is a strong demonstration of what our strategic plan, Care Comes First…Through Patients’ Eyes, aims to deliver – consistently excellent performance and the delivery of a high-quality, holistic health service to the Wide Bay community,” Ms Jamieson said.

“Not only does it show how we’ve continued to deliver the state’s best wait times and improve our emergency performance, but also how we’re planning for the future through building capacity and detailed workforce planning.

“We successfully opened the new Hervey Bay Hospital emergency department and the Step Up Step Down mental health facility in Bundaberg, and we built capacity further with new medical wards both in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. Plus, we’ve had significant ongoing upgrades at Maryborough Hospital, Gayndah Hospital and Eidsvold Multipurpose Health Service.

“Looking ahead, we’re developing the detailed business case for a new hospital in Bundaberg, we’re getting prepared to start building a new mental health acute inpatient unit in Hervey Bay, and we continue to make rolling infrastructure improvements across our entire region.

“Our community can be reassured its health care is in safe hands, now and into the future.”

WBHHS Chief Executive Adrian Pennington said the 2018-19 annual report was a strong reflection of
the way WBHHS had continued to build on its previous successes.

“The maintenance of our waiting lists is an ongoing success story, and the importance of this
achievement can’t be understated because it leads to earlier diagnosis and treatment of Wide Bay
patients,” Mr Pennington said.

“To add to that with the 80.4% Emergency Length of Stay achievement is outstanding. This means the
vast majority of our patients – higher than the statewide target – had an emergency stay of four hours or
less, prior to being discharged or being admitted.

“This is an even more extraordinary achievement when you consider that our emergency department
presentations have risen almost 3% and we’ve seen an almost 8% increase in the number of admitted
patients. So not only are more people presenting, they’re presenting with more complex conditions that
need inpatient care.”

Mr Pennington said such strong performance could never be achieved without a highly skilled and
sustainable local clinical workforce.

“A more sustainable medical workforce in particular is one of the key goals that’s driving our partnership
to create a new regional medical program, jointly with Central Queensland HHS, CQUniversity Australia
and The University of Queensland,” he said.

“This will enable us to grow our own doctors, which will lead to a more stable workforce and better
continuity of care for our patients. We’re excited to see the first intake of students from 2022.”

Financially, WBHHS finished the 2018-19 year with a $9.2 million surplus, thanks to the ongoing
implementation of its financial improvement plans, and allowing it to continue to plan for sustainable
service improvements into the future.

Last updated: 27 September 2019