Muswellbrook District Hospital’s Emergency Department rated highly in BHI performance report

MUSWELLBROOK District Hospital is rated one of the best performing facilities, with data showing that Hunter New England Local Health District’s (HNELHD) Emergency Departments were exceeding the state average for waiting times.

The BHI Healthcare Quarterly Activity and Performance Report for April to June 2018 was released this week – and HNELHD chief executive Michael DiRienzo is more than thrilled with the findings.

He said it was pleasing to see the district continuing its focus on improving the patient experience through reductions in waiting times.

“Overall, our district is performing better than the state average when it comes to reductions in waiting times in emergency,” he explained.

“We saw 101,690 patients presented to our emergency departments and of these 75.2 per cent of people depart within four hours.”

Across the district, 77.9 per cent started their treatment within recommended timeframes, an improvement on the same period last year.

The 2018-19 budget for HNELHD is nearly $2.3 billion, an increase of over $86 million on the 2017-18 annualised budget.

Between mid-2012 and mid 2018 HNELHD has increased its workforce by an additional 1115 full-time equivalent staff – an increase of 10.6 per cent including 277 more doctors and 627 more nurses.

Mr DiRienzo said 98.1 per cent of all elective surgeries were performed on time across the district. 

Of these, 99.8 per cent of urgent surgeries, 98.8 per cent of semi-urgent surgeries and 96.7 per cent of non-urgent surgeries were completed ahead of schedule.

Of the district’s 15 hospitals captured in the BHI report, five ranked perfectly for elective surgeries performed on time.

Particularly encouraging was the performance of the rural and regional hospitals.

“Our best performing hospitals include Calvary Mater Newcastle, Narrabri, Cessnock, Inverell, Moree and Muswellbrook Hospitals where 100 per cent of elective surgeries were performed on time,” Mr DiRienzo said.

“Kurri Kurri saw an increase in surgeries performed on time, while Singleton maintained its 100 per cent timeliness. 

“Manning Hospital also did well, with 99.8 per cent of elective surgeries performed on time even with more than 670 surgeries performed, a seven per cent increase.

“Tamworth Hospital has maintained an excellent surgery performance with 99 per cent of its 956 procedures performed within the specified timeframe. 

“The hospital continues to monitor all wait lists every day and is working hard to ensure people receive their surgery sooner.”

This performance across all categories is better than the state average. 

The waiting times for all elective surgeries are well within the recommended timeframes.

“Our staff have been going above and beyond to ensure we continue to meet the demands of the community, and I am grateful for their ongoing commitment to delivering high quality health care across the region,” Mr DiRienzo said.

John Hunter Hospital performed particularly well during the April to June period, with 19,898 patients presenting to the ED and, despite this, achieved a 5.4 per cent improvement in treatment starting on time.

Mr DiRienzo thanked the hardworking staff who implemented a range of strategies to deliver this high level of service.

“Our highly-trained nursing staff monitor ED waiting rooms to ensure patients are commencing required treatment as promptly as possible,” he explained.

“In addition, we have a Clinical Initiatives Nurse monitoring and assessing patients in the Waiting Room and commencing simple treatments on patients while they wait.

“We have also reviewed rosters to ensure there are more doctors available during peak periods, and we have further increased the number of doctors working in the John Hunter Hospital ED.”

The district performed more than 7767 surgeries from January to March 2018, a slight increase of 50 on the same period last year. 

There were significantly more non-urgent surgeries, which were up by 115, nearly 4 per cent. 

In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in health, representing a $1.1 billion increase over the 2017-18 Budget. 

This includes $19.2 billion towards improving services in hospitals in NSW this year.