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Emergency waiting time improving

By Thumper - 19 June 2008 12

The ABC is reporting that Katy Gallagher has indicated that strategies to reduce waiting times in emergency departments are paying off and that the latest report on Canberra’s public hospitals shows an improvement in the performance of emergency departments.

The report shows the number of patients treated on time increased across all categories.

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12 Responses to
Emergency waiting time improving
gun street girl 12:36 pm 20 Jun 08

peterh said :

The blame is on Katy Gallagher, who could get more funding so that the same nurses I saw at 9.00pm were not having to work until 3.00am

Twelve hour shifts for nursing and medical staff alike is pretty much the norm in the ED. What’s more, staffing numbers – particularly amongst doctors – drops dramatically after hours. As such, there’s only so much that can be done by the handful who cover nights.

peterh said :

and maybe a few more beds would help- they could move the littlies section to another area of acute, perhaps, away from the mainstream patients.

Katy is already splashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a special waiting area for Paeds patients. Not to worry that said hundreds of thousands could have been spent opening more beds. The long term plan is for a new womens and childrens hospital that will be apart from TCH altogether – but you’ll be waiting a decade or so until it gets up.

peterh said :

many small children screaming in pain can be unsettling to someone who is already ill or injured, themselves.

The bigger issue lies in servicing the older population who are frequenting the hospital more and more. Never mind screaming children – it’s the screaming, delirious dementia patients who are a bigger concern – these poor souls often spend more than 48 hours in the ED (frequenting an acute bed), waiting for a bed on the wards. Imagine how bewildering it is for an acutely unwell patient, whose memory is not so great to begin with, to spend DAYS in a department which never turns off the lights, is never quiet, and which can’t extend any privacy or much dignity at all. Compassionate much, Katy?

peterh 12:16 pm 20 Jun 08

went to the ED with one of my sons, he had breathing difficulty. waited from 9.00pm till 3am. Little guy passed out in his stroller, and I was watching him the whole time to make sure he didn’t stop breathing. Eventually, a triage nurse realised we were there and ushered us in quickly.

My son had bronchiolitis, and wasn’t yet 1yo. The nurse apologised profusely for the delay, but I don’t blame her, the doctors or the administrators, The blame is on Katy Gallagher, who could get more funding so that the same nurses I saw at 9.00pm were not having to work until 3.00am, and maybe a few more beds would help- they could move the littlies section to another area of acute, perhaps, away from the mainstream patients. many small children screaming in pain can be unsettling to someone who is already ill or injured, themselves.

Ernie 11:16 am 20 Jun 08

Went to emergency with my sister last week and there was a nurse doing the rounds in the waiting room checking BP etc which I haven’t seen before (not that I spend a lot of time in emergency). My sister was put in a bed in less than 3 hours and discharged 8 hours later. There were quite a few people in the waiting room but were attended to in a reasonable time and was empty when I left a few hours later. Everyone we met was lovely and caring.

la mente torbida 10:42 am 20 Jun 08

Spent the night with my daughter as she waited on getting stitches (11:30pm thru 5:00am)…that was okay as there was multiple emergencies needing immediate treatment.

Triage nurse finally phoned Qbn hospital…drove out there…in and out in 30 minutes.

miz 10:21 am 20 Jun 08

Quite worrying, then – while I am not too fazed by a wait of a few hours, if this indicates systemic problems we are up the creek. *Lesson learnt* So, we should not rely on media releases quoting lies, damn lies and statistics! It would be good to have a hosp insider (such as yourself?) giving the real story on a regular basis . . .

gun street girl 10:14 am 20 Jun 08

The problem is that the whole hospital hasn’t the infrastructure the staff the way it should. The ED is only the public face of what is happening to the entire structure – the crisis cuts a lot deeper than waiting times alone (despite what Katy would have you think). Simply put, we just don’t have doctors up our sleeve in order to put on a few extra on the weekends to patch up football heroes and deal with low priority cases – the whole system runs at a staffing deficit – there simply aren’t enough of us to go around (and as such, those of us there are flogged 24/7). In an ideal world, the entire doctor (and nurse) quota hospital wide would treble in order to address the work load. In the interim, staffing is prioritised accordingly, so you’ll find the bulk of doctors in the acute area of the ED, dealing with the Cat 1,2 and 3 patients.

miz 9:58 am 20 Jun 08

Gun street girl, thanks for the hospital-speak translation! Wondering though, shouldn’t they expect this influx, and staff accordingly? I admit though, it was suggested I go to CALMS but I had ‘not a bean’ (with CALMS doctors it’s pot luck if they bulk bill or not, mostly not). So, we waited.

gun street girl 8:21 am 20 Jun 08

“Fast track” at the TCH ED is not a “new GP scheme” – it’s just the term used for Cat 4 and 5 patients (ie low priority) who are seen in the subacute area of the department. “Fast track” is a misnomer, particularly on the weekends, when half of Canberra come in with sporting injuries and assorted maladies they’ve been saving up all week.

miz 10:43 pm 19 Jun 08

One weekend, my son needed stitches under his eye. We were ‘fast tracked’ through some new GP scheme and only had to wait from 930am to 130pm! Hooray. Not.

ant 9:06 pm 19 Jun 08

One of my frequent laments too, Sepi. The local media (excepting the local ABC) seem to be media release organs. They never seem to investigate other angles to a release, they just print or report the thing. Even the Chronicle sometimes goes beyond that (although they have to be careful not to annoy the advertisers!).

sepi 7:51 pm 19 Jun 08

This article only talks about ‘the most urgent category’ of patients. They would want to be seeing those people quickly.

And the article doesn’t mention our stats against other states. In the most recent report we were last in Australia in every single category of waiting time for medical services.

Why do Canberra media always just report what someone tells them, and never bother to dig out the report and ask the obvious question.

Are we still last in the nation in healthcare or not.
Eg – Have we gone from woeful to hopeless, or are we actually improving?

VicePope 7:51 pm 19 Jun 08

As one who has sat there a few times from, say, the end of Boston Legal to breakfast, I’d say this is a good thing. What would be better would be to get the place clear of the people who really simply need a GP but who (a) won’t pay or (b) can’t pay or (c) can’t get an appointment. Oh, and the social groups of young people with nowhere better to be.

Even if it cost serious money, would it not make sense to open a 24 hour bulkbilling clinic nearby so that those who just need a medical certificate or a prescription for antibiotics can be sent there for more appropriate service?

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