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Worst emergency department in the country?

By johnboy - 30 November 2011 30

The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson is having a good old whack at the increasingly hapless Katy Gallagher with new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on emergency department performance.

According to today’s AIHW report, the ACT now has both the worst elective surgery waiting times and the worst emergency department waiting times in the country. ACT Shadow Health Minister Jeremy Hanson said these disastrous outcomes have occurred due to Katy Gallagher’s inability to manage the health system effectively.

“Not only is the ACT’s average elective surgery waiting time of 76 days more than double the national average, we also now have the worst emergency department waiting times, with patients waiting almost twice as long as the national average and only 58 per cent of patients being seen on time,” Mr Hanson said today.

“Canberrans are waiting longer than any other jurisdiction because Katy Gallagher has been incapable of managing the $1 billion health system and these appalling results are simply not good enough.

“Behind these statistics are patients waiting longer than they should and often in pain.

But hey, they’ve got time to work on a new logo!

UPDATE: Chief Minister Gallagher has in turn announced that she’s come up with her own “Report Card” for the ED which shows “improvement”.

“I’m pleased to see the Report Card for August 2011 showing solid improvements in performance by the Canberra Hospital.

“The efforts of the Health Directorate are paying off with significant improvements in the proportion of patients seen within the targeted timeframe across categories 2, 3, 4 and 5,” the Chief Minister said.

The Report Card shows that 100 per cent of Category 1 patients are seen immediately and 88 per cent of Category 2 patients are seen within 10 minutes which is above the target.

“While there’s still more work to do in Categories 3 and 4, I’m pleased to see the proportion of Category 3 patients seen on time has risen from 44 to 64 per cent, and the proportion of Category 4 patients has increased from 42 to 57 per cent,” the Chief Minister said.

“The Report Card also shows 82 per cent of Category 5 presentations to Canberra Hospital are seen within recommended timeframes, which is also above the target.

“Significantly, these improvements at the Canberra Hospital have been made in the face of increasing presentations to the Emergency Department, with an additional 200 people seen during the year to August and more than a hundred additional admissions to hospital via the ED.”

What’s Your opinion?


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30 Responses to
Worst emergency department in the country?
sb14 4:04 pm 30 Nov 11

When are we going to move past using emergency dept and elective surgery waiting times as a measure of a hospital’s worth?

I couldn’t give a rat’s how long it takes for my mildly sore big toe to be attended to on a Saturday night. And when that toe needs the ingrown nail removed I’m happy to wait that bit extra knowing that if I have a heart attack I will be attended to in a timely manner, be shipped to a fully functional and well staffed catheter lab following which there will be a bed for me in a cardiac care unit staffed by experienced nurses and well trained doctors.

Emergency dept waiting times and elective surgery lists capture nothing but bed block.

nice_enough 2:23 pm 30 Nov 11

Sure we have the worst hospital waiting times in the country, but have you seen that multi-storey car-park at Canberra Hospital ! WOOOWEE what a hum-dinger.

Deref 2:17 pm 30 Nov 11

KeenGolfer said :

A significant part of the issue with ED waiting times anywhere in the country would have to be the number of people who go to ED when they don’t need to. It’s called the “emergency” department for a reason.

I’ve had to go to Calvary ED for various reasons and if you do have a genuine emergency type situation you’re always seen to very quickly in my experience.

+1

It’s complicated by the paucity of GPs in town and, of those, the few who bulk bill. A few more Walk In Centres would certainly help, as would greater use of healthdirect (sic) Australia.

And yeah – our health services are understaffed and underfunded, but they still do an amazing job.

KeenGolfer 2:08 pm 30 Nov 11

A significant part of the issue with ED waiting times anywhere in the country would have to be the number of people who go to ED when they don’t need to. It’s called the “emergency” department for a reason.

I’ve had to go to Calvary ED for various reasons and if you do have a genuine emergency type situation you’re always seen to very quickly in my experience.

zippyzippy 1:51 pm 30 Nov 11

I want to know what Jeremy Hanson is going to do about it.

No, seriously, has he ever said what needs to be done to fix it?

I went and looked up the Liberals’ health policy to see if there was anything and all I found was: “Thank you for taking interest in our policies. We are currently developing our 2012 election policies and they will be available here once released.”

aidan 1:37 pm 30 Nov 11

laraeddy said :

Why is it far better to criticise our public services rather than acknowledge the great work they do on our behalf for the great majority of the time ?

News values.

I agree. We had 3 kids at the Birth Centre (TCH) and it was fantastic. Everyone was marvellous.

A couple of years ago I had a burst appendix, can’t say enough for all the professionals that helped me that day (Ambos, ED staff, Surgeon, Anaesthetist, Nurses, Ultrasound Tech). Frigging marvellous. I’d be dead without them. So Cheers!

laraeddy 11:48 am 30 Nov 11

rescuedg said:

“Wonder about patient outcomes, maybe we are waiting so long because we have the best treatment…?

Possibly not but its a nice idea.”

Heaven forbid we should ever say anything positive about our excellent public services, but I would like to chip something in from recent personal experience.

My partner and I recently went through the great sadness of a stillborn baby girl and, in my partner’s case, some fairly horrible follow-up complications. This all happened as public patients at the maternity part of Woden Valley Hospital.

Yes, they are horribly understaffed, and may have something else on their plates when you push the call button – but the professionalism, quality of care and genuine compassion we have experienced is nothing short of amazing. Just one example that comes to mind was a doctor calling by at the end of what had been a harrowing day for him, just to make sure that things had gone well with a procedure my partner had had that day – she wasn’t his patient at that stage, but we had got to know him through other things that had happened.

Certainly, the comparison between these people and some gum-flapping careerist pollie who wouldn’t know the front end of a stethoscope from the back end of a boil is pretty stark.

Interestingly (well, I think so), we did write a letter to the Crimes to try and publicly acknowledge the positive experience we had of WVH – it never got published, although a complaint about a letter taking a couple of days too long to get between two Canberra suburbs did get a run around the same time.

Why is it far better to criticise our public services rather than acknowledge the great work they do on our behalf for the great majority of the time ?

aidan 11:26 am 30 Nov 11

johnboy said :

aidan said :

“the increasingly hapless Katy Gallagher”

Really?

She published a media release this morning letting people know about Monday’s twitter community cabinet.

It sure looks like floundering from here.

Sounds like her staff stuffed up. I don’t get an impression of “floundering” at all. I think it takes more than a late press release or two to write off a Chief Minister.

Mostly I am thankful that I don’t have the always defensive-aggressive Stanhope on the telly. And not just his personal style, but the “you’re either wi’ us or a’gin us” mode of Governance.

johnboy 11:03 am 30 Nov 11

aidan said :

“the increasingly hapless Katy Gallagher”

Really?

She published a media release this morning letting people know about Monday’s twitter community cabinet.

It sure looks like floundering from here.

dpm 11:01 am 30 Nov 11

You should probably be more specific than ‘worst ED in the country’. From my experience, care is good but waiting times are long. Perhaps ‘worst ED waiting times in the country’ is more appropriate?

aidan 10:55 am 30 Nov 11

“the increasingly hapless Katy Gallagher”

Really?

rescuedg 10:41 am 30 Nov 11

Wonder about patient outcomes, maybe we are waiting so long because we have the best treatment…?

Possibly not but its a nice idea.

shirty_bear 10:17 am 30 Nov 11

Someone has to be in last place … are we so speshul that it can’t be us? Would be happy to speculate that the Cbr public is (a) relatively highly serviced in terms of occurrences per capita per annum, and (b) better able than most others to cope/find alternatives.

Mumbucks 9:45 am 30 Nov 11

Maybe they need another ‘succesful ‘ twitter session.

Leinna 9:41 am 30 Nov 11

They probably shouldn’t have blown up the old hospital.

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