19 June 2022

Murrumbidgee Local Health District hospitals meet adversity to perform above state averages

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Hospital entrance

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) hospitals continued to deliver high-quality care despite a challenging start to the year.

Wagga Base Hospital, Griffith Base Hospital and Young Health Service experienced significant pressure from the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak.

Of the 35,326 emergency department (ED) attendances across the district from January to March 2022, 11,074 were at Wagga Base Hospital, 5941 at Griffith Base Hospital and 1848 at Young Hospital.

Coming in well above the state average of 62.3 per cent, 84.5 per cent of patients in the district were transferred within the 30-minute benchmark time for ambulance paramedics to an ED clinician.

Eight in 10 district patients were seen within the recommended time and 74.4 per cent of patients were able to leave the ED within four of presenting at the hospital, above the state average of 62.3 per cent.

READ ALSO MLHD promotes COVID response leader Emma Field to director

The first quarter of 2022 was challenging for the MLHD with dramatic spikes in COVID-19 cases compounded by staff shortages, largely due to COVID-related staff furloughs.

MLHD acting CEO Carla Bailey thanked staff for their hard work during the peak of the Omicron outbreak.

“It has been a challenging start to 2022,” Ms Bailey said.

“Despite this, our emergency departments have continued to provide care well above the state average in terms of wait times and our ambulance transfer of care times are the best in the state for this quarter.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our highly skilled and dedicated workforce. These results are a testament to their hard work,” she said.

Non-urgent elective surgery requiring overnight stay was suspended in public hospitals across NSW from January to February, including hospitals in the MLHD.

From January to March, MHLD completed 1956 elective surgeries.

READ ALSO Murrumbidgee Indigenous community to help inform region’s health service updates

“Our surgical teams have worked incredibly hard over the past year to ensure that the number of patients on our elective surgery waiting lists has remained as low as possible,” Ms Bailey said.

“While we continued to perform all urgent procedures on time, I understand how upsetting it can be having a surgery delayed. Our District remains committed to ensuring those procedures that were delayed due to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic are performed as quickly as possible.”

The MHLD expects a significant workforce boost as part of the 2022/23 Budget, which will see 10,148 full-time staff recruited across NSW hospitals and health services over the next four years.

The $4.5 billion investment includes a $1.76 billion boost for NSW Ambulance to recruit 2128 new staff and open 30 more stations.

The NSW Government has committed more than $4 billion to the NSW health system to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.

In 2020/21 the NSW Government provided an extra $458.5 million to fast-track elective surgeries and $80 million as part of the 2021/22 NSW Budget.

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