Lismore Base Hospital in Lismore.
Lismore Base Hospital in Lismore.

Hospitals have been busier than ever

LISMORE Base Hospital had its busiest quarter on record at the end of last year, with 10,370 presentations in the last quarter.

The figures for the October to December 2019 quarter for the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) were releasaed in the Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly report.

The report covers a time when large parts of NSW were ravaged by bushfires and blanketed in bushfire smoke.

Lismore Base Hospital's record 10,370 emergency department (ED) presentations at the end of last year was an increase of 3.5 per cent, or 352 more people, on the same quarter in 2018.

Admissions to hospital were also up significantly, with a 7.6 per cent increase or 277 more people.

The median time patients spend in the ED was two hours and 55 minutes.

There were 1,335 elective surgery procedures performed at Lismore Base Hospital, with 100 per cent of urgent procedures performed on time.

Casino District and Memorial Hospital had 3384 presentations to its emergency department, a decrease of 4 per cent or 142 people -- 89.6 per cent of patients left the ED within four hours.

There were 221 elective surgeries performed at the site and 99.5 per cent of all elective procedures were performed on time.

Byron Central Hospital saw 5863 presentations to its emergency department -- up 2.3 per cent or 134 more people -- and 636 arrivals by ambulance, up 16.7 per cent.

Despite increased activity, the percentage of patients starting treatment on time also increased by 2.6 percentage points to 83.5 per cent, and 82.7 per cent of patients left the ED

within four hours.

Ballina District Hospital had 4774 emergency presentations, an increase of 4.3 per

cent, or 198 more people.

And 78.2 per cent of patients left the ED within four hours.

The median wait times for all surgery categories decreased and 100 per cent of urgent

surgeries were performed on time.

NNSWLHD Chief Executive, Wayne Jones, said the high activity was a continuation of recent trends being seen across the state, and hospitals in Northern NSW had performed well despite the increases.

"Our staff are doing a fantastic job, treating patients efficiently and providing excellent, compassionate care," Mr Jones said.

"They should be proud of the work they do which allows our health system to function as effectively as it does.

"This quarter included the devastating bushfires we saw in spring and early summer, and I need to acknowledge the incredible response from our staff who helped their patients, facilities and community through those difficult months."