Patients were left waiting marginally longer for treatment in Gunnedah’s Emergency Department at the end of 2016.
However, new figures form the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) reveal the district hospital’s ED is still well above the state average for waiting times.
The BHI’s quarterly report card for October to December 2016 showed 89.8 per cent of patients were leaving the ED within the four hour benchmark, 15 per cent higher than the state average.
Gunnedah’s ED figures for the last quarter of 2016 were slightly down compared to same period in 2015, but overall presentations were up by about 4 per cent.
There were only 10 surgeries performed at the hospital in the last quarter of 2016.
In the same time period in 2011, 102 operations were performed.
While there were less surgeries in Gunnedah, the region’s referral hospital in Tamworth saw wait times grow considerably.
Pa are waiting for up to seven months for orthopaedic surgery in Tamworth.
BHI figures reveal patients at Tamworth hospital waited an average of 217 days for elective orthopaedic surgery.
During the same period in 2015, patients waited just 62 days on average.
The BHI figures showed 100 per cent of operations – across all specialties – were performed in the clinically recommended timeframe.
Overall, the number of people on the surgery wait list at Tamworth grew by 11.1 per cent from December 31, 2015, to the same point in 2016, climbing from 1460 to 1622.
The hospital’s general manager, Catharine Death, said the growth in waiting times was “representative of the sheer volume of work being done in the theatres”.
Ms Death maintained 100 per cent of surgeries in the quarter were performed in the “clinically appropriate timeframe” and said the figures were good.
“But we always want to improve,” she said. “We’ll continue to look at how to make sure surgery wait times are as short as possible.”
The hospital will boost its stocks in the orthopaedic department with one new surgeon set to take up post soon, while another specialist position is currently being advertised.
NSW Health minister Brad Hazzard welcomed the BHI report and said NSW patients are getting world-class care, with “significant improvenment” in elective surgery and ED wait times.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to our tireless, dedicated public hospital staff. More people are coming to emergency than ever before and, even with that challenge, our medical and nursing staff consistently delivers first-class care,” Mr Hazzard said.