The number of people being rushed to Orange hospital suffering life threatening symptoms has increased by a massive 31 per cent over the same time last year.
The latest Bureau of Health Information [BHI] quarterly figures showed that 58 people were taken to the hospital emergency department from April-June this year – well up on the 44 people in the same top priority resuscitation category at the same time last year.
It was also the highest number of resuscitation patients since at least 2010.
The pressure on the emergency department also increased as it received 11 per cent more category four [semi-urgent] patients than the same time last year.
Many of them were people suffering the flu.
Acting general manager of the Orange Health Service, Lacey Healey, said the increase in resuscitation presentations was due to several factors.
They included people involved in accidents and people at home and those in smaller hospitals in the region who had to be transferred as their acute condition deteriorated.
She said Orange hospital played an important role as a trauma referral centre for the district.
“There has been an increased demand on our health facility,” she said.
Ms Healey said most flu sufferers went to the hospital on weekends.
“We encourage people to use their GPs and their primary health care providers.
“It is a very winter, seasonal trend.
“Make sure you wash your hands and have your flu shots.
“Our emergency department was well prepared and handled it well.
“We are as ready as we can be.”
The BHI figures showed that despite the increased demand the median time for Orange hospital staff to start treatment was the same as last year – 21 minutes.
And even the measure for the slowest time to start treatment was eight minutes quicker than last year.
The figures also showed treatment for all patients arriving at Orange for all conditions was being started on average about three-five minutes quicker than the NSW average.
About 7160 patients were treated in the emergency department.
The median time they spent there was two hours and 41 minutes – 10 minutes longer than the same time last year but five minutes shorter than the state average.