Funds help to ease emer­gency de­mand

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS - By Yvette Brand More than $1 mil­lion fund­ing will help West Gipp­s­land Hos­pi­tal meet in­creas­ing de­mand on its emer­gency depart­ment and med­i­cal ward.

The West Gipp­s­land Healthcare Group has re­ceived $1.12 mil­lion as part of a $500 mil­lion state gov­ern­ment plan to im­prove am­bu­lance ser­vices and emer­gency de­part­ments.

The ex­tra fund­ing will open three new ward beds at the hos­pi­tal, in­creas­ing the abil­ity of med­i­cal staff to move pa­tients re­quir­ing ad­mis­sion out of the emer­gency depart­ment and free­ing up space for the pa­tients ar­riv­ing by am­bu­lance.

WGH emer­gency depart­ment ad­mis­sions have in­creased 13 per cent in the first seven months of this fi­nan­cial year.

While gen­eral de­mand and emer­gency depart­ment de­mand con­tinue to in­crease an­nu­ally, WGHG act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Justin Walsh said the 13 per cent in­crease was the most sig­nif­i­cant jump in re­cent years.

But, he said they also had re­ceived ad­di­tional fund­ing to help deal with the pres­sure.

Hos­pi­tals across the state have ex­pe­ri­enced un­prece­dented de­mand with a 24 per cent in­crease in emer­gency pre­sen­ta­tions in the past six years. More than a third of these pa­tients have been ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal – the high­est num­ber ever – and was cou­pled with a sig­nif­i­cant surge in am­bu­lance de­mand.

The state gov­ern­ment’s $500 mil­lion plan to im­prove am­bu­lance re­sponse times in­cludes $50 mil­lion to go to­wards im­prov­ing emer­gency de­part­ments so pa­tients can be treated and ad­mit­ted quicker, free­ing up am­bu­lances to get back on the road sooner.

Mr Walsh said WGHG had re­ceived $1.12 mil­lion ad­di­tional ac­tiv­ity fund­ing that will al­low them to free up beds in the med­i­cal ward.

He said WGHG was con­tin­u­ing its share agree­ment with Neerim District Sol­diers Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal who will take on el­derly pa­tients from War­ragul.

“This will free up those beds to cre­ate more emer­gency ac­cess and more ca­pac­ity to ad­mit and im­prove re­sponse times,” he said.

Mr Walsh said hav­ing ac­cess to beds off site at Neerim South has been a suc­cess­ful ar­range­ment in re­cent years.

He said only pa­tients that could be treated or cared for within NDSMH’s ca­pac­ity would be re­lo­cated.

Mr Walsh said de­mand in emer­gency ad­mis­sions was con­tin­u­ing to in­crease and at busy times pa­tients would go through ED and were then left wait­ing for their bed.

“Now that we have these three ex­tra beds in the med­i­cal ward we can cater for them more timely,” he said.

Mr Walsh said emer­gency pre­sen­ta­tions reached a peak at 20,000 about two years ago, but had con­tin­ued to rise.

“There has def­i­nitely been an in­crease in med­i­cal ad­mis­sions but this year it has been higher than pre­vi­ous,” he said.

The lat­est per­for­mance fig­ures for the three month pe­riod end­ing in De­cem­ber showed West Gipp­s­land Hos­pi­tal:

Ad­mit­ted 3142 pa­tients, up from 2840 ad­mis­sions in the same pe­riod a year ear­lier;

Saw 5602 pa­tients who pre­sented to the emer­gency depart­ment, up from 5346 pre­sen­ta­tions in the same quar­ter in 2015;

Re­ceived 998 am­bu­lance ar­rivals, up from 942 ar­rivals a year ear­lier;

Com­pleted the trans­fer of 93.5 per cent of pa­tients who ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal in an am­bu­lance in the De­cem­ber quar­ter within the tar­get of 40 min­utes, bet­ter than the statewide bench­mark of 90 per cent;

Re­duced the num­ber of pa­tients on the elec­tive surgery wait­ing list by 445 – from 747 at the end of the De­cem­ber 2015 quar­ter to 302 at the end of this De­cem­ber.

The av­er­age time for an am­bu­lance to reach the scene of a code one ac­ci­dent or emer­gency in the Baw Baw Shire has im­proved, to 17:22 min­utes in the De­cem­ber quar­ter from 18:39 min­utes a year ear­lier.

Over the same pe­riod, the pro­por­tion of am­bu­lances which ar­rived within the bench­mark 15 min­utes for the most time-crit­i­cal pa­tients – in­clud­ing car­diac ar­rest, heart at­tack, ma­jor trauma and stroke pa­tients – im­proved from 49.2 per cent to 55.8 per cent.

Mem­ber for East­ern Vic­to­ria Re­gion Har­riet Shing said the state gov­ern­ment’s record investment in health meant more pa­tients in War­ragul would get the care, treat­ment and surgery they needed sooner.”

“With more paramedics on the road, am­bu­lances will be able to re­spond to life threat­en­ing emer­gen­cies in Baw Baw Shire even more quickly,” she said.

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