Bathurst Hospital's ED wait time drops, new data shows

PATIENT numbers might have jumped in Bathurst Hospital’s emergency department (ED), but people are waiting less time for help.

The number of patients increased by 5.8 per cent (from 6324 people to 6690) during the most recent reporting quarter, but 80.6 per cent of people spent less than four hours waiting in the ED.

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data from October to December 2017 reveals Bathurst Hospital is out-performing Orange and Dubbo when it comes to patients leaving the ED quicker.

“In spite of these increases in presentations, there was also an increase of 6.5 per cent in the number of patients who left the ED within four hours of arriving,” acting general manager at the hospital Cathy Marshall said.

She said the ED’s recently-introduced Fast Track strategy had been instrumental in decreasing waiting time for patients.

“This has included using nurse practitioners, working with medical staff where required, to care for less urgent cases,” Ms Marshall said.

The strategy has also seen a physiotherapist employed in the ED to assess and treat some sporting and muscular injuries.

In spite of these increases in presentations, there was also an increase of 6.5 per cent in the number of patients who left the ED within four hours of arriving.

Bathurst Hospital acting general manager Cathy Marshall

Ms Marshall said Fast Track was for less urgent cases such as small cuts, abrasions and sprains.

Staff have also focused on ensuring patients move though the system quicker to either leaving the ED, being admitted or becoming part of the Hospital in the Home strategy.

“Not all services occur in hospitals,” Ms Marshall said of the Hospital in the Home strategy which involves patients being treated in their own home.

“They heal much faster in their own home than in hospital.”

Ms Marshall said the hospital’s focus on ambulatory care, community service and new staff has also helped to reduce ED wait times.

“We’ve employed more permanent senior medical staff in the ED,” she said.

The community’s awareness of the on-site GP clinic after hours and on weekends further directs less urgent cases away from the ED.

Ms Marshall praised Bathurst Hospital’s ED staff for their work in embracing strategies to reduce patient wait times.

“Staff at Bathurst did extremely well to respond to a 5.8 per cent increase in emergency cases coming to the ED, including the number of resuscitation cases more than doubling,” she said.

“There was a four minute reduction in the time taken to transfer care from ambulance to hospital.”