Orange hospital improves waiting times

NEW statistics show Orange hospital has reduced waiting times for several major surgery categories.

The quarterly figures released yesterday from the Bureau of Health Information also reveal Orange hospital has decreased the waiting time in the emergency department to four hours, which meets state benchmark figures, following an 8 per cent improvement in the last three months.

Orange Health Service chief executive officer  Catherine Nowlan puts the report card tick down to the hospital staff’s hard work.

“This is particularly gratifying knowing that we are now treating the highest number of patients in the highest triage levels in the region,” she said.

Ms Nowlan said hospital staff deserved a pat on the back for a significant improvement in the number of hours a patient spends in the emergency department before they are sent to intensive care, surgery, assigned to a ward or sent home. In total, 6674 patients presented to emergency between July 1 and September 30 this year.

“That result of a reduction down to four hours is excellent - it shows great teamwork,” she said.

Patients arriving at the hospital’s emergency department with the highest risk of imminent death in the triage 2 category were treated in five minutes, according to the report, quicker than Dubbo Base Hospital which recorded a nine minute period to start of treatment.

The average waiting time for elective or non-urgent surgery at Orange is 312 days - down from 349 days at the same time last year.

Waiting times for knee and hip surgery in Orange have also recorded a downward trend despite Orange taking on patients from Bathurst where there are virtually no hip and knee replacements carried out due to a lack of orthopaedic surgeons.

The drop in waiting times for a total hip replacement has recorded the biggest improvement with a waiting period of 79 days compared with 336 during the same quarter last year.

Patients waiting to have their varicose veins stripped have to wait the longest, remaining on the list for an average of 326 days.

Orange is the only major hospital in the region to reach the state’s benchmark of four hours in the emergency department, nudging one per centage point ahead of Bathurst Base Hospital in the same category, and 16 percentage points in performance above the emergency department at Dubbo Base Hospital.

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