14 March 2018

Just months after withstanding one of Australia’s worst flu epidemics on record, the latest performance report on health services in NSW shows an extraordinary bounce back by our public hospitals and ambulance.

The Bureau of Information Healthcare Quarterly Report for October to December 2017 shows the majority of NSW hospitals delivered solid results, while many in Western Sydney were standout improvers including Blacktown, Mount Druitt, Westmead and Liverpool.

NSW Health Deputy Secretary System Purchasing and Performance, Susan Pearce, said the results prove just how robust our health service is.

"There are some who would have you believe our hospitals and ambulance service are underperforming, but it's not the case and those claims simply undermine public confidence,” Ms Pearce said.

"Our health system not only weathered one of the worst flu epidemics on record, but these latest results show it bounced back strongly and the efforts of our frontline staff deserve to be recognised and applauded.

"The results certainly aren't perfect - no health system in the world is perfect - and there is always room for improvement, but these figures show despite increased demand for services, our patients continue to receive high quality care."

NSW hospitals performed more than 55,000 elective surgeries over the three months, 1,108 more than the previous year, with 97.5 per cent performed within clinically recommended timeframes.

Overall the percentage of patients staying four hours or less in emergency departments across the Western Sydney Local Health District improved by nearly six per cent, despite an over four per cent increase in presentations. Auburn and Mt Druitt Hospitals were the best performers with 80.3 and 80 percent respectively.

NSW hospitals completed almost all elective surgeries on time and treated over 76 per cent of emergency department patients within required timeframes, despite receiving an extra 13,500 patients.

Westmead Hospital significantly improved the percentage of patients treated on time from the previous quarter lifting its performance by an outstanding 22 percentage points.

NSW Ambulance also experienced increased demand with paramedics providing over 284,000 responses across NSW within the quarter. Despite the additional activity, almost 95 per cent of the highest priority cases (Priority 1) were attended to in 30 minutes or less.

The NSW Government is investing a record $21.6 billion representing an almost $1 billion increase over the 2016-17 Budget. This includes $15.3 billion in acute health services in NSW this year, including $36 million for growth in emergency care services and $227 million for more inpatient hospital services. An additional $3 million will deliver more cataract removal, hip and knee replacement surgeries.

Emergency performance October - December 2016 October - December 2017
Percentage of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours (%) 74.4 73.6
Percentage of arrivals with transfer of care time within 30 minutes (%) 91.9 92.1
Percentage of patients starting treatment on time (%) 75.7 76.0
Median time to start treatment (minutes) Triage category 2: Emergency 8 8
Triage category 3: Urgent 20 20
Triage category 4: Semi-urgent 25 26
Triage category 5: Non-urgent 23 23
Time from presentation to leaving the ED Median 2 hr 40 min 2 hr 44 min
90th percentile 6 hr 53 min 6 hr 55 min
Elective surgery performance October - December 2016 October - December 2017
All categories 97.6 97.5
Cat 1 – Urgent 99.8 99.8
Cat 2 – Semi-urgent 97.6 97.2
Cat 3 – Non-urgent 96.4 96.4
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