One in four waiting in Grafton emergency department
A QUARTER of all emergency patients at Grafton Base Hospital take longer than four hours to be transferred to another department or sent home.
It was still better than the state average.
The Bureau of Health Information's latest quarterly hospital report reveals Grafton has the third slowest turnover in the Northern NSW Local Health District, with 75.4% of patients being released within four hours.
It was still an improvement on the 73% rate recorded over the same July-September period last year, and beat the state average of 71.5%.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner celebrated the statewide result, which she said was a 1.4 percentage point improvement on winter 2015.
"The report reflects the tremendous work being done across the state by our dedicated hospital staff,” she said.
"While there is always room for improvement, many of our hospitals have shown wonderful progress in the winter months.”
Ballina (74.7%) and Lismore (63.5%) were the only NNSWLHD hospitals with longer emergency department stays last quarter.
Casino and District Memorial Hospital was the best performer of the district's seven major hospitals with 88.9% of patients being released within the four-hour target time frame.
The figures show 6248 people presented at Grafton's emergency ward from July to September.
Of the 551 elective surgeries performed at Grafton Base Hospital, 99.1% were completed within recommended waiting times.
Labor's shadow health minister Walt Secord took a dim view of the report, noting NSW's ambulance response times were now the nation's second longest after Tasmania.
"Unfortunately, patients wait at every stage,” he said.
"They wait for an ambulance, they wait outside an emergency department, they wait inside an emergency department for a bed and then they are discharged too early to make way for another patient needing the bed.
"The picture on health is not as rosy as Premier Mike Baird and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner claim.”