The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) today released the Australian Hospital Statistics 2012-2013 report which shows NSW leading other states and territories on national performance benchmarks.
In 2012-13, NSW public hospitals treated the largest number of patients of any state or territory, with 2.6 million emergency department presentations and 1.7 million hospital admissions.
The AIHW found 70.8 per cent of NSW patients completed their emergency department treatment within the four hour National Emergency Access Target (NEAT) target – up 9.7 per cent from the previous year, the greatest rise in the nation.
Furthermore, NSW hospitals had the highest proportion (78 per cent) of emergency department patients commencing treatment within clinically appropriate timeframes.
“Our clinicians, nurses and other hospital staff are to be congratulated on the sustained manner in which they are delivering improved performance in our hospitals.
“They have always had the skill and dedication but, under Labor, their best efforts were stymied. I am proud that, under the NSW Liberal & Nationals’ devolved model of health, they now have the tools and freedom to initiate solutions to local problems.
“We have opened up the opportunity treasure chest, they have responded tremendously well and our patients are reaping the benefits,” Mrs Skinner said.
In 2013, a total of 216,533 patients received elective surgery in NSW public hospitals – 3770 more than in the previous year. The figure comprises:
(in 30 days)
(in 90 days)
(in 365 days)
% on time
Of all elective surgery patients, almost 97 per cent received their treatment within clinically recommended time frames – the best result in Australia.
In Category 2, NSW leads the nation with 96.4 per cent of procedures conducted within the recommended 90-day time frame.
In Category 1 (recommended 30-day time frame), the result was 99.4 per cent – the second best result in the nation.
The AIHW also found median waiting times for all urgent categories improved in NSW between 2012 and 2013.
Mrs Skinner said the positive performance in elective surgery is the result of a range of newly adopted strategies and initiatives to meet the National Elective Surgery Target (NEST), including optimising waiting list management and pre-admission processes, optimising operating theatre efficiency, using the NSW Surgery Access Line and introducing new models of care such as high volume short stay surgical units and specialist centres.
“It is particularly pleasing to see that NEAT and NEST results improved simultaneously during the same time period,” Mrs Skinner said.
“This simultaneous improvement was not able to be achieved by most other jurisdictions, as maintaining high levels of performance in both emergency care and elective surgery can be very challenging for any public hospital system.
“But NSW did it and our doctors, nurses and other hospital staff should be very proud of that fact,” she said.
Mrs Skinner said improvements in emergency department performance have been aided by the Whole of Hospital Program (WoHP), in which the Ministry of Health supports selected hospitals to improve delivery of quality, timely care.
Today’s AIHW data also shows NSW hospitals have maintained a low staph aureus bloodstream infection rate, reporting 1.0 case per 10,000 days of patient care. This is a very positive performance compared to the national benchmark of 2.0.
Under the guidance of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), NSW hospitals are maintaining their vigilant focus on five key infection prevention and control strategies – hand hygiene, correct antibiotic use, contact precautions, reduction of central line infections in ICU and effective use of environmental cleaning programs.
Mrs Skinner concluded: “NSW’s positive performance reflects the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff who continuously strive to deliver the best possible care to all patients across the state. We thank them and will support them to continue their vital work.”