NSW residents have access to real-time information on the number of patients waiting in emergency departments.
A website that shows updated information on waiting times at NSW emergency wards has gone live.
Health minister Jillian Skinner said the website, which updates information on hospital waiting times every 15 minutes, will also give access to a 24-hour advice line staffed by a registered nurse.
"It will help everybody, it will help patients access quality and timely care, it will help emergency departments," Skinner said.
While the website - www.emergencywait.com.au - currently only deals with emergency wards, Skinner said it would be expanded "in time" to cover other less severe surgeries.
When asked by a reporter if patients needing emergency care would take time to use the website, Skinner said it would be particularly valuable to parents.
She said parents with ill children could call the Healthdirect hotline on 1800 022 222 and speak to a registered nurse to determine if a child was seriously ill and then choose the hospital with the least amount of waiting time.
"But if (you've) sliced an artery or broken your leg, I recommend calling triple zero immediately and make your way to the nearest emergency department," Skinner said.
Skinner said she could not remember what the website cost, but said the running of it would not add to the current health budget because it collated information already collected by hospitals.
The opposition issued a statement saying the website should be used to determine which hospitals get certain funding.
Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald said Skinner had to commit to directing funding, staff and resources to hospitals based on the new real-time waiting lists at emergency departments.
"The NSW Opposition supports any moves to improve patient care in NSW but the question is whether Ms Skinner will use this data to redirect resources to the greatest areas of need," McDonald said.
"Real-time waiting lists won't just be a good tool for patients - they should also be used to direct funding, staff and capital works to hospitals that need it most."Do you have an idea for a story?
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