Tweed Hospital will soon have a new medical unit.
Tweed Hospital will soon have a new medical unit.

Hospital waiting time to be halved

THE Tweed Hospital will soon have a new unit which should see medical patients discharged in half the time.

Medical assessment units will soon be rolled out at the North Coast’s four biggest hospitals – Tweed Heads, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford said the units are similar to those operating in city hospitals.

“The Health Department set up a few pilots in Sydney hospitals and it was going so well so they decided to get it out to the country,” Mr Crawford said.

He added the units will cut down the length of stay for medical patients, particularly those suffering respiratory or cardiac problems.

“It means we have a unit where we treat medical patients more intensively,” Mr Crawford said.

“Generally when medical patients get admitted to hospital they stay for about eight days.

“With these units you get much more intense treatment straight away and patients can be discharged in three or four days.”

Although the hospital is using the same beds, Mr Crawford said twice as many patients can be treated due to extra staff.

“We will be employing more doctors and allied health staff, such as physiotherapists.

“This will allow people to recover from their illnesses more quickly.”

The medical assessment units will start out with eight beds, Mr Crawford said.

“They’re using existing beds but will be more intensively staffed, which effectively increases beds by eight.”

Mr Crawford said the health service is finalising plans for the new units and will begin recruiting staff early next year as per the project’s schedule.

“We’re hoping to have the units up and running by the end of March,” he said.

The new North Coast medical assessment units are a jointly funded initiative by the federal and state governments.



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