Attendances at Orange Hospital's emergency department over the first three months of 2021 jumped by almost 10 per cent compared to just a year earlier, new figures from the Bureau of Health Information reveal.
The BHI's latest quarterly report reveals the increased workload facing hospital staff in the continued aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic's height, showing waiting times for treatment have also increased in turn.
The figures show 8,470 people presented to Orange Hospital's emergency department between January and March which marked an increase of 677 - or 8.7 per cent - from 2020, that upward trend noted across Western NSW.
Of those patients a total of 73.7 per cent received treatment on time compared to 83.6 per cent in 2020, with waiting times for each triage category also increasing, particularly in terms of urgent and semi-urgent presentations.
Increases in time to treatment weren't restricted to year-on-year comparisons, slight increases can also be noted in the latest figures against those from the quarter directly prior - between September and December of 2020.
Compared to the final quarter of 2020, wait times in the opening months of this year increased despite the latest figures actually showing fewer presentations in all but one triage category, with only those defined as urgent increasing.
Increases were largely marginal and predominantly in less urgent presentations, although the latest figures' median wait times for urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent triage categories were higher than the state average.
In terms of emergency presentations, however, the median time for treatment remained at six minutes which was substantially lower than nine-minute state average.
It was marked at seven minutes across Western NSW.
"There was also an 11 per cent increase in [emergency] presentations to the district's EDs ... and nearly three quarters of emergency patients still started treatment on time," Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan said
"The district (also) saw a notable increase in [non-urgent] activity through EDs, with presentations going up by 41.5 per cent ... which was mostly due to people presenting for COVID-19 testing.
"It is also pleasing to see the number of patients leaving our hospital's emergency departments within four hours is 80.5 per cent, which is 12.9 percentage points better than the NSW average.
WNSWLHD also performed 2,632 elective surgeries during the quarter, which was 242 or 10.1 per cent, more surgeries when compared with the same time in 2020.
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