Recent figures show longer wait times and a dramatic increase in patients at Bega’s embattled new hospital.
On Wednesday, October 5, NSW Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord and Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly visited the South East Regional Hospital saying the federal government’s cuts to the health budget were having a negative effect on the $187million facility.
Mr Secord had been approached by some of SERH’s workers who said it was not properly staffed.
“I’ve spoken to doctors and nurses and they are all saying the same thing about the hospital – it’s under enormous pressure,” he said. “We have the ludicrous situation where patients are waiting longer in the new hospital than in the old one.”
He was referring to data on Bega’s hospitals provided by the Bureau of Health Information for the periods of April 1 – June 30.
Last year 16.9 per cent of patients spent over four hours in the emergency department in the Bega District Hospital, but in SERH this year that jumped to 24.2 per cent.
The data also showed an increase in patient numbers at the ED. From April to June this year, 4003 checked in to SERH, an increase of almost 1000 people from last year.
By the end of June there were 839 patients waiting for elective surgery, almost 13 per cent more than last year.
While all patients in elective surgery’s urgent category received surgery within the recommended 30 days, more patients deemed semi or non urgent had to wait beyond their recommended times at SERH compared to last year.
For median wait times in elective surgery, gynaecology patients waited 64 days compared to 38 last year, cholecystectomy patients had an 89 day wait but 71 last year, and general surgery patients waited 69 days compared to 48.
But there were improvements, such as urology patients waiting 30 days compared to 78 last year.
Dr Kelly said the critical issue was that the federal government’s cuts to health and hospitals were putting enormous strain on the state government’s budget.
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