Patients in good hands but emergency wards getting busier

Labor leader Luke Foley slammed the NSW Government for stalling on the Tweed Hospital redevelopment after he, Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Richmond MP Justine Elliot met with hospital staff this week.
Labor leader Luke Foley slammed the NSW Government for stalling on the Tweed Hospital redevelopment after he, Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Richmond MP Justine Elliot met with hospital staff this week. Scott Powick

PATIENTS of emergency departments at both Murwillumbah and Tweed hospitals are getting treatment faster than much of the state, the latest data shows.

This came despite an increase in presentations compared to the same October to December quarter in 2015, and substantial increases over the past five years.

Presentations to the Tweed Hospital Emergency Department for the quarter ballooned by almost 2800 from the number the department saw in 2011.

The figures also reinforced claims the Tweed ED was busier than some metro hospitals, with the Tweed having six more patients per day than St Vincent's at Darlinghurst.

Dr Cameron Williams, Murwillumbah Hospital Staff Medical Council Chair, said the results showed the community the dedication staff had for providing the best possible treatment.

"(From a GP's perspective), if we've got sick patients and need to get them in quickly, the doctors and consultants working at Murwillumbah emergency are doing a great job,” Dr Williams said.

"We've got a very close relationship with them and we are very happy.

"From a staff council perspective, we talk about this every staff meeting and have input from the emergency department, and certainly there are no problems we have or see from the emergency department.”

The hospitals were assessed for responses to four categories of symptoms, such as cuts, burns or chest pains. The data showed Murwillumbah and the Tweed started treatments quicker than state averages in each of the four.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard congratulated public hospital staff for their October-December quarter performances.

"I'd like to say a big thank you to our tireless, dedicated public hospital staff,” he said. "More people are coming to emergency than ever before and, even with that challenge, our medical and nursing staff consistently delivers first-class care.

"This report shows the percentage of patients who spent four hours or less in ED (statewide) was 74.3% for the October-December quarter 2016 - a vast improvement on just 60% of patients seen within four hours under Labor for the same quarter in 2010.”

But NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said the figures could not hide the pressure on medical staff and said hospital funding was failing to keep pace with population growth.

"Growing elective surgery lists and waits affect patients,” he said.

"It is unfair to make an elderly patient wait for almost a year for cataract removal or a knee replacement.

"State and Federal Government health funding has not kept pace with population growth and changes on the North Coast.

"Doctors are speaking on the state of Tweed Hospital. They want to do their best for patients but they are not being properly supported.”

Topics:  brad hazzard geoff provest halth minister tweed hospital tweed hospital campaign

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