Armidale Hospital has improved, according to a Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report

Armidale Hospital has been able to reduce emergency department waiting times and maintain its performance of surgeries. 

More than 3000 patients presented at the Armidale emergency department from January to March this year – a decrease of nearly seven per cent on the same quarter last year. 

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report revealed that 81.2  per cent of patients left the ED within four hours, up from 78.2 per cent for the same quarter in 2017.

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Rural and Regional Health Services executive director Susan Heyman said Armidale Hospital had made significant improvements in a number of areas.

“There’s always room for improvement but it’s a strong performance. As long as we are moving upwards, even in just a couple of markers, it places us well in relation to similar sized facilities,” Ms Heyman said. 

“For example, Armidale Hospital emergency department starting their treatment on time that improved by almost five per cent since last year.

“We have also seen an increase for people coming in and being treated in the emergency department ... We were above the state target.”

According to the report, the median time emergency patients leaving the ED was 2 hours and 1 minute, which is 9 minutes less than last year’s figures. 

Ms Heyman said the improvements were due to a number of factors including Armidale Hospital’s $60 million redevelopment. 

“Our whole space is now purpose built environment … the redevelopment gave us a chance to look at our processes,” she said.

“We have modified the fast track model in the emergency department. It’s based on the idea that the semi-urgent and non-urgent patients, such as sprained ankles, minor cuts or ear aches, and putting in place a fast track model allows us to respond to those patients quicker and move them through so they aren’t sitting there waiting. 

“We have introduced a patient access manager and that person’s role is to improve the flow of patients through the emergency department and surgical areas so if someone comes into the emergency department, the manager can make sure it happens in a timely way.

“The staff should be congratulated … 100 per cent of all our [elective] surgeries were completed on time.

“Armidale Hospital is a really important hospital in the Northern Tablelands but also the district.”