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Big improvement in waiting times despite ED’s busiest year

By Canfan - 22 October 2014 4

Canberra’s emergency departments are facing unprecedented demand according to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report (AIHW) into emergency departments across Australia, Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher said today.

In 2013-14 Canberra’s emergency departments saw the highest number of people use the service on record with a six percent increase up on the previous year.

The AIHW report shows that ACT emergency departments saw the highest percentage increase in presentation numbers with a 5.8% when compared against other jurisdictions, including Western Australia which saw a 1.5% decline.

In the 2013-14 year Canberra’s emergency departments saw a record 125,890 presentations.

“Despite this increasing demand the AIHW report shows that ACT public hospitals are continuing to improve in overall timeliness when it comes to emergency care,” the Chief Minister said.

“All triage categories have seen improvement with 61 percent of all patients being seen within benchmarked waiting times, a 10 percent improvement on the previous year.

“The report also shows that the ACT treated all category one and two patients, the most urgent cases, within benchmarked times.”

The most recent figures show that the trend for increasing presentations continues into this year where we have already seen 22,195 people come to ACT emergency departments in the first two months of 2014-15 to be treated which is an 8% increase on the same two months last year indicating that Canberra is on track for another busy year.

The Chief Minister said continued increases in patients going to be seen in ACT hospitals was not a trend that was being seen across the country.

“With 14 months of substantial increases in presentations which is not showing any sign of decline, it is important that we seek to understand more thoroughly the reasons why ACT hospitals are seeing such big increases despite improved GP access, new models like the nurse led walk in centres and new services like the National Home Doctor Service,” the Chief Minister said.

“I have asked ACT Health to provide me with a report on what factors are leading to these substantial year-on-year increases.

“In the meantime we need to ensure that the Canberra community is aware of other primary care health services that are available to deal with a range of illnesses and injuries including general practitioners, the nurse-led walk-in centres and CALMS after hours service, the home doctor visiting service, and community pharmacists that are able to treat or provide advice to people with less urgent conditions.

“I encourage Canberrans to think about whether their illness or injury might be better treated at one of these services before presenting to the emergency department to help prioritise the work of doctors and nurses in the ED towards the most urgent emergency cases.”

(Katy Gallagher Media Release)

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4 Responses to
Big improvement in waiting times despite ED’s busiest year
pink little birdie 12:11 pm 24 Oct 14

jcitizen said :

You only have to sit in a hospital emergency department for a short time to see how the word “EMERGENCY” is being either ignored or misunderstood by many of the people who attend the emergency department at the hospitals.
There seems to be a large number of people that are using the emergency department for convenience, rather than an actual emergency.
It seems that most people would rather sit around in an emergency department, for most of the day, so that they do not have to pay to see a doctor, rather than have to wait a day or two or three and have to pay to see a GP.
I wonder how many people choose the hospital over a GP because the hospital is free and a GP is not.
Where are the figures on how many people attend the emergency department who are not faced with an actual medical emergency? I’m sure that the figures, if they were collected and made available, would add up to several thousand per year.
How many people, that are facing an emergency, are told they have to wait and cant be seen straight away by the doctor, because of the number of people that are abusing the system?
Seems to me that the Government needs to change the system so that people do seek treatment for non emergencies at the appropriate places like GP’s, medical centres, the nurse led walk in centres, calms, after hours doctors etc. and not Hospital Emergency Departments.
I make a suggestion that, one way the Government could encourage people to seek out a more suitable treatment facility, in such non emergency situations, would be to charge a fee, that is equal to or higher than a GP.
One way this might be able to be achieved could be that the Hospital employs a triage doctor rather than a nurse, to see the patients upon arrival, who would be able to make the determination of wether or not the patient is facing an emergency or wether or not they could be seen to by one of the other facilities available. If the patient insists on waiting to be treated by the emergency department, after it is determined that they are not facing an emergency, then the fee could be charged and this could be used to help fund the triage doctor.
Just a suggestion by someone who was born in the original Canberra Hospital and who has seen the “newer” system struggle to cope, ever since Kate Carnel decided to blow it up.

People going to the emergency department because it’s free rather then the GP’s confuses me because about 5km from the hospitals is the bulk billing GP’s clinics at Phillip and Belconnen. About the same waiting time before about 8pm.
Though last time I needed a Dr after hours I went to calms with an appointment. I would have been seen faster if I went to the emergency department and I wouldn’t have paid $90 for it. Also adding that CALMS is located next to the Emergency departments at both hospitals. I only needed a doctor not emergency medicine. 🙁

dungfungus 10:55 am 24 Oct 14

jcitizen said :

You only have to sit in a hospital emergency department for a short time to see how the word “EMERGENCY” is being either ignored or misunderstood by many of the people who attend the emergency department at the hospitals.
There seems to be a large number of people that are using the emergency department for convenience, rather than an actual emergency.
It seems that most people would rather sit around in an emergency department, for most of the day, so that they do not have to pay to see a doctor, rather than have to wait a day or two or three and have to pay to see a GP.
I wonder how many people choose the hospital over a GP because the hospital is free and a GP is not.
Where are the figures on how many people attend the emergency department who are not faced with an actual medical emergency? I’m sure that the figures, if they were collected and made available, would add up to several thousand per year.
How many people, that are facing an emergency, are told they have to wait and cant be seen straight away by the doctor, because of the number of people that are abusing the system?
Seems to me that the Government needs to change the system so that people do seek treatment for non emergencies at the appropriate places like GP’s, medical centres, the nurse led walk in centres, calms, after hours doctors etc. and not Hospital Emergency Departments.
I make a suggestion that, one way the Government could encourage people to seek out a more suitable treatment facility, in such non emergency situations, would be to charge a fee, that is equal to or higher than a GP.
One way this might be able to be achieved could be that the Hospital employs a triage doctor rather than a nurse, to see the patients upon arrival, who would be able to make the determination of wether or not the patient is facing an emergency or wether or not they could be seen to by one of the other facilities available. If the patient insists on waiting to be treated by the emergency department, after it is determined that they are not facing an emergency, then the fee could be charged and this could be used to help fund the triage doctor.
Just a suggestion by someone who was born in the original Canberra Hospital and who has seen the “newer” system struggle to cope, ever since Kate Carnel decided to blow it up.

This is Gough Whitlam’s “free” universal health cover legacy.

carnardly 10:21 am 24 Oct 14

and take out all the self inflicted young pretty girls on a Friday and Saturday night who’ve simply drunk too much and popped a few party pills and passed out and simply need a bed to sober up on, you’d have the staff standing around chatting.

and the drunken yobbos that just start a punch on because ‘he looked at me’.

jcitizen 10:49 pm 23 Oct 14

You only have to sit in a hospital emergency department for a short time to see how the word “EMERGENCY” is being either ignored or misunderstood by many of the people who attend the emergency department at the hospitals.
There seems to be a large number of people that are using the emergency department for convenience, rather than an actual emergency.
It seems that most people would rather sit around in an emergency department, for most of the day, so that they do not have to pay to see a doctor, rather than have to wait a day or two or three and have to pay to see a GP.
I wonder how many people choose the hospital over a GP because the hospital is free and a GP is not.
Where are the figures on how many people attend the emergency department who are not faced with an actual medical emergency? I’m sure that the figures, if they were collected and made available, would add up to several thousand per year.
How many people, that are facing an emergency, are told they have to wait and cant be seen straight away by the doctor, because of the number of people that are abusing the system?
Seems to me that the Government needs to change the system so that people do seek treatment for non emergencies at the appropriate places like GP’s, medical centres, the nurse led walk in centres, calms, after hours doctors etc. and not Hospital Emergency Departments.
I make a suggestion that, one way the Government could encourage people to seek out a more suitable treatment facility, in such non emergency situations, would be to charge a fee, that is equal to or higher than a GP.
One way this might be able to be achieved could be that the Hospital employs a triage doctor rather than a nurse, to see the patients upon arrival, who would be able to make the determination of wether or not the patient is facing an emergency or wether or not they could be seen to by one of the other facilities available. If the patient insists on waiting to be treated by the emergency department, after it is determined that they are not facing an emergency, then the fee could be charged and this could be used to help fund the triage doctor.
Just a suggestion by someone who was born in the original Canberra Hospital and who has seen the “newer” system struggle to cope, ever since Kate Carnel decided to blow it up.

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