Hospital patients down in winter

Despite one of the worst flu seasons on record the Cowra Hospital emergency department saw a decrease in numbers reporting to the hospital during winter.

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) show 80 less patients presented at emergency between July and September 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. 

One less patient (178)  presented in the triage category for an emergency. 

In the urgent category for complaints such as moderate blood loss and dehydration 44 more patients (468) presented.

Six hundred and ninety seven patients presented for semi urgent cases for sprained ankles, ear aches etc.

In 2016, 821 patients presented for semi urgent matters.

An extra two patients (297) presented for non urgent cases such as small cuts or abrasions.

Eighty seven percent of patients spent four hours of less in the Cowra Hospital emergency department.

The median time to leave the ED was 1 hour and 45 minutes, the same time as the previous year and well ahead of the state average of three hours.

“Winter is typically the busiest quarter for NSW public hospitals, but this winter season was particularly busy for emergency departments throughout the state,” BHI acting chief executive Dr Kim Sutherland said. 

Admissions to Cowra Hospital were down 1.2 per cent for the quarter, while acute episodes were down 2.8 per cent or 26 cases. 

Non-acute episodes were 18.

Overall length of stay and hospital bed days were up 173 or 7.3 per cent. 

All bed days at the hospital totalled 2531 compared with 2358 in 2016.

The hospital experienced somewhat of a baby boom in the quarter with 48 babies born, a 60 per cent increase on the same period in 2016.

The median waiting time for urgent elective surgery at Cowra Hospital in the quarter was nine days, up two day while the waiting time for semi urgent surgery was down seven days to 43 days.

Patients booked in for non urgent elective surgery faced a median wait of 192 days, 15 more days than in 2016.