All Category 1 emergency department presentations in the South West, which constitute the sickest and most critically injured patients, were seen immediately during December, the latest performance data shows.

South West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services David Tibby said a total of 2497 people were seen in emergency departments across the region in December.

This was a 4 per cent decrease compared to December 2017, largely due to a continued increase in appropriate primary care access, such as through GP clinics.

“Across all five emergency categories – with one being the most urgent and five being the least – the median waiting time was 3 minutes, with 99 per cent of all presentations seen within the clinically recommended waiting times for their category,’’ Mr Tibby said.

“The percentage of patients requiring hospitalisation, who were admitted to hospital within 4 hours  across all 5 categories was 86 per cent, above the benchmark standard of 80 per cent.

“In regional areas like ours, this proportion can be affected by the number of patients awaiting aerial evacuation to a larger hospital for more complex treatment.

“For the sake of patient safety, patients awaiting evacuation elsewhere are managed in the Emergency Department until their retrieval flight arrives.

“This may require a stay of longer than 4 hours in the ED.

“Some patients may also require more than a four-hour stay while tests such as medical imaging and pathology are done to diagnose their condition.

“For patients who did not require hospitalisation, 96 per cent across all categories were in and out of emergency within 4 hours during December, well above the target of 80 per cent.’’

Mr Tibby said 100 per cent of patients in the South West who were ready for elective surgery in December had their procedures within the clinically recommended time.

He said a total of 85 patients received their elective surgery in December.

“South West Hospital and Health Service delivers a range of specialist surgical services, both visiting and in-house, as part of its elective surgery programme management,’’ he said.

“Visiting specialist services available for adults and children include, orthopaedic surgery, ear, nose and throat, ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynaecology, and general surgery.

“The combination of visiting and in-house specialist services means that South West residents can obtain specialist consultations within their local community, reducing the impact of having to
travel or waiting longer than clinically recommended for assessment and treatment.


For further information contact:

James Guthrie

Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld Media and Communication

Department of Health (07) 3708 5379