Emergency statistics released
IN AN unprecedented move the Minister for Health, Paul Lucas, has opened the doors to hospital emergency statistics, revealing that 15 people died in Hervey Bay’s emergency department during the second half of 2009.
Six people died in the emergency department of Maryborough Hospital during the period from July to December.
The Deputy Premier announced the new initiative to give the public greater access to information about hospital emergency departments.
He said the move would for the first time see comprehensive emergency department data, including access block, wait times, and attendances by hospital and by triage category, published regularly on the Queensland Health website.
Waiting times for priority patients at the Fraser Coast hospitals varied during the six-month timeframe.
In July, 86 per cent of category one patients were treated within the benchmark timescale at Hervey Bay, while 100 per cent were seen to at Maryborough.
Category one patients are people in an “immediate life-threatening” situation.
In August, 75 per cent of category one patients at Maryborough were seen within time, while 100 per cent were seen at Hervey Bay.
In September, 80 per cent were seen within time at Hervey Bay, while 100 per cent were attended to in Maryborough.
In October and December, both hospitals had a 100 per cent rating but Hervey Bay slipped to 67 per cent in November.
Forty-seven category one patients were treated at Hervey Bay Hospital and 24 at Maryborough from July to December.
The stats show that category two and category three patients were treated promptly at both hospitals.
Only in August did either hospital fall below the Queensland Health benchmark, when 79 per cent of category two patients were treated within the designated time at Maryborough Hospital.
The benchmark is 80 per cent.
Category two patients have an “imminently life-threatening” illness, while category three patients are in a “potentially life-threatening” situation.
Average waiting times at both hospitals compared well against state averages.
Hospital staff consistently took less than half the state average to see category two and three patients, while a four-minute average for category one patients was recorded on two occasions. Otherwise one minute or less was averaged.
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen was focusing his attention on outside the hospital door, after the release of the figures.
“The number of ambulances waiting outside needs to be cut out altogether,” he said.