ED wait betters national target

By kelli.hooks@age.co.nz, Kelli Hooks


Patients at Wairarapa Hospital's emergency department have a shorter wait than those visiting others around the country.

Improvements to wait times were made throughout New Zealand EDs last year with Wairarapa's emergency department improving more than nationwide figures.

The Government's National Health Targets, which began in 2009, saw more than 130,000 additional patients receiving emergency care within six hours in 2012 than in 2009.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said: "This is a significant improvement from a few years ago when only around 80 per cent of New Zealanders received ED care within six hours."

Of the 970,000 ED presentations last year, 93 per cent of patients were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours or less in EDs nationwide. Wairarapa DHB exceeded this amount with more than 95 per cent of patients in each quarter in 2012 and 97 per cent of patients during the last three months visiting Wairarapa ED being admitted, transferred or discharged within six hours.

Acute Services Charge Nurse Manager Vicki Hookham said Wairarapa DHB had made improvements by putting emphasis on patients getting help from the most appropriate provider.

"We are working much more closely with GPs and advising people to consider using their GP rather than waiting for treatment in the ED Department for six hours," Ms Hookham said.

"An ongoing DHB campaign is urging people to think about the best place to go for health care, rather than simply heading to the Emergency Department."

Wairarapa DHB encouraged people to use Healthline or their GP unless it is a real emergency.

"I think people are getting the message about saving ED for emergencies, so when people do need to come to us, then 97 per cent of them are seen within the six-hour target."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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