Emergency attendances up in the last quarter with sicker patients in Hunter New England Health District

Emergency attendances were up in the at the Hunter New England Health District’s (HNEHD) hospitals in the last quarter and those who did attend were also sicker.

According to the latest Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly report, patients who presented to hospitals between July and September were sicker and required more urgent attention compared to the same time last year.

HNELHD Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo said the latest report showed staff performed exceptionally well under pressure.

“Our highly-trained staff took this increase in demand in their stride and continued to provide outstanding care,” Mr DiRienzo said.

107,396 patients attended the ED, an increase of 4,685 – or 4.6 per cent – on the previous year.

This increase in critically ill patients presenting to emergency departments was a trend experienced across HNELHD during the quarter.

John Hunter Hospital experienced a 57.4 per cent jump in triage category 2 (emergency) presentations, up 1,206 presentations on the previous year, totalling 3,307. There was also a 33.7 per cent increase in triage category 3 presentations (up 1,743, to 6,913) compared to the same time last year.

Increases in the number of more urgent patients attending the ED was also observed at Tamworth, Muswellbrook, Belmont, Cessnock, Maitland, Manning, Inverell and Singleton hospitals.

HNELHD performed 7,684 elective surgeries, a decrease of 352 surgeries – or 4.4 per cent – compared with the previous year. Across the District, 98 per cent of these procedures were performed on time, this is well ahead of the state average of 92.3 per cent.

The best performing hospitals include Calvary Mater Newcastle, Armidale, Cessnock, Gunnedah, Inverell, Moree, Muswellbrook, Narrabri and Singleton, whose surgical performance is on par with or better than their peer group hospitals.