ATTENDANCES at Bathurst Hospital's emergency department over the first three months of 2021 jumped a massive 60 per cent compared to just a year earlier, the latest figures from the Bureau of Health Information have found.
The quarterly report has revealed the increased workload facing hospital staff as a lobby group continues its campaign for a better deal for Bathurst health services.
The BHI figures show 10,677 people presented in the ED between January and March this year, compared to 6665 in the first three months of 2020.
Of those, 6907 were classified as emergency presentations, up 9.7 per cent on a year earlier, with the biggest growth coming in the T2 (emergency) classification which was up 34.7 per cent from 582 in 2020 to 784.
Despite the increased workload, however, the emergency department was still performing better than its peer group average in terms of waiting times to be triaged and commence treatment.
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Western NSW Local Health Service chief executive Scott McLachlan said increases in Bathurst presentations were reflected right across the region.
"We are immensely proud of our workforce for consistently providing high quality care in our emergency departments during this extraordinarily challenging and busy period," he said.
"The district saw a notable increase in triage category 5 (non-urgent) activity through EDs, with presentations going up by 3629, or 41.5 per cent, to 12,380 compared to the same period in 2020, which was mostly due to people presenting for COVID-19 testing.
"There was also an 11 per cent increase in triage category 2 (emergency) presentations to the district's EDs, up 484 attendances to 4879, and nearly three-quarters (72.2 per cent) of emergency patients still started treatment on time.
"The median time to treatment for these patients was seven minutes which is faster than the NSW median wait time of nine minutes.
"It is also pleasing to see the number of patients leaving our hospital's emergency departments within four hours is 80.5 per cent, which is 12.9 percentage points better than the NSW average."
Mr McLachlan said the vast majority of patients at the Bathurst ED were treated on time, according to state benchmarks.
"There was an improvement in the overall proportion of patients starting their treatment on time in the ED, up 0.7 percentage points to 87.3 per cent," he said.
"The median wait time for triage category 2 patients was seven minutes, which is better than the NSW average ... of nine minutes."
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