THERE may have been an increase in the number of patients in Bathurst Hospital’s emergency department (ED), but on average they are spending less time waiting for treatment.
Figures published in the Bureau of Health Information’s report show 6261 patients attended the ED from January to March this year, this is up on 6185 during the same period last year.
The median time spent in the ED was two hours and five minutes during the quarter, this is down from two hours 15 minutes during the same time last year.
Waiting times in emergency, urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent triage categories during the quarter were shorter than the state average.
The average waiting time for emergency cases in Bathurst’s ED was seven minutes during the quarter, followed by 17 minutes for urgent cases, 16 minutes for semi-urgent, and 13 minutes for non-urgent.
Most cases to the ED were for semi-urgent matters, such as a sprained ankle or earache, with 2864 patients, this was up from 2749 during the same period last year.
This was followed by 2085 urgent cases (up from 2002), then 630 emergency cases (down from 684) and 577 non-urgent cases (down from 643).
Bathurst Hospital acting general manager Cathy Marshall said staff had been working hard with increased demand.
She said the number of patients who left the ED within four hours of arriving had increased 4.4 per cent, while there was a 9.1 per cent improvement in the number of patients whose care was transferred from ambulance to hospital staff in 30 minutes.
Ms Marshall said a number of strategies had been put in place to achieve these results, including: using nurse practitioners who work with medical staff where required to care for less urgent cases, and employing a physiotherapist to assess and treat some sporting and muscular injuries.
The onsite GP clinic has also assisted the ED in seeing patients.