DEMAND for orthopaedic services in Bathurst has seen the waiting time for surgery increase, the latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report has shown.
Orthopaedic surgery services have been a focus for Bathurst Hospital, which appointed additional orthopaedic surgeons in 2015 and 2016.
But, with additional surgeons comes additional patients, and the wait time for surgery has increased by 13.6 per cent.
Patients waited 200 days for surgery in the October to December, 2016 quarter the BHI data shows. This is up from the same period in 2015 when the wait time was 176 days.
Bathurst Hospital general manager Sue Patterson acknowledged the increase: “As evidenced by the data, elective surgery activity at Bathurst Hospital continues to grow, with growth in orthopaedic surgery being highest.”
“The appointment of orthopaedic surgeons to Bathurst in the last 12 months has seen the demand for this service grow locally, and the hospital is delighted to be able to offer these surgical interventions locally.”
Also experiencing an extended wait time were total hip replacements, with patients waiting 219 days, compared to 132 in 2015.
However, there were also significant drops in some elective surgery wait times, with patients waiting 83 days less for ophthalmology surgery.
Median waiting times were also slashed for total knee replacements (198 days compared to 232 in 2015).
Bathurst Hospital’s emergency department (ED) had a slight decrease in the number of presentations for this reporting quarter – from 6336 people to 6327.
The number of patients who fell into the highest triage category (such as chest pain or severe burns) increased by 17.7 per cent this quarter – from 547 up to 644.
Also increasing were the number of non-urgent cases (small cuts, abrasions) – from 303 patients to 449.
Ms Patterson said she was pleased with the results in the latest BHI report, and Bathurst Hospital’s ED continued to perform well in comparison to its peers across the state.
The appointment of orthopaedic surgeons to Bathurst in the last 12 months has seen the demand for this service grow locally.
“Although the complexity of patients presenting to Bathurst Hospital’s emergency department has grown since last year, patients presenting in all five triage categories were seen below the NSW state average time in the last quarter,” she said.
“[Also] 74.1 per cent of patients were seen and treated in the emergency department with four hours of arrival; a significant improvement on last quarter’s performance.”