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More patients have shorter wait for emergency care

NSW emergency department waiting times are improving.

The acting chief executive of the Bureau of Health Information, Kim Browne, said the latest Hospital Quarterly report showed “improvement in the time that most patients wait for treatment in NSW emergency departments”.

NSW’s 2012 aim for the National Emergency Access Target was 69% of all patients to leave the emergency department within four hours. During this quarter, the figure was 64%.

For 2012, the total of patients who left within four hours was 60%.

“The report shows this quarter’s result, at 64%, is the highest percentage for the year and the biggest improvement on the state’s performance in 2011,” said Browne. “Overall, however, NSW did not meet the National Emergency Access Target for 2012.”

About a quarter of all patients, or 140,362, arrived at emergency departments by ambulance from October to December 2012. The report shows 64% of these patients were accepted into the care of emergency department staff within 30 minutes of arrival, which was lower than the 66% a year before.

During the quarter, more than 52,000 elective surgical procedures were performed in NSW public hospitals, which was 4% higher than 12 months before. The majority of patients (93%) received their surgery within the recommended time.

Approximately 66,400 patients were waiting for elective surgery in NSW at the end of last year. At this time, 83% of these patients were in the non-urgent category, 15% in the semi-urgent category and 1% were waiting for urgent surgery.

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