Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3847 ..
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for returning to this important question. It is important to note that Canberra Hospital has one of the busiest EDs in the country and its actual peers are all facing the same challenges with more and sicker patients. Canberra Hospital’s ED of course is the larger of the two EDs that contribute to this result. We can see that this is the case when we look at the emergency department presentations across the year 2018-19 where we have seen the higher category of patients—categories 1, 2 and 3—all increasing but a reduction in the semi-urgent and non-urgent categories. Yet we are seeing an overall increase in patients.
We know, as we talked about earlier, that the winter flu season came early this year and presentations across the system were up three per cent in the last quarter that was reported on from the previous quarter to more than 38,000 presentations for the quarter. All up, 57 per cent of people spent four hours or less in ED.
I would like to reflect on some of the comments that were made on social media on the day that the quarterly performance report in relation to the experiences of patients in our emergency department was released. One patient said:
I know we keep seeing this in the media but seriously I used to live in Queensland and the emergency departments in Canberra seriously are good.
I cannot speak highly enough of the fantastic ED reception’s paramedics, nurses and doctors. They are very professional whilst providing the best of care in the shortest possible time. I’ve had my fair share of ED lately and each time the staff provided the highest standard of treatment and care.
I was recently treated at the Calvary Emergency. I received fantastic treatment and was in and out in just over an hour. This included an x-ray.
MRS JONES: Minister, which peer hospitals saw fewer than 30 per cent of patients on time who urgently needed treatment over the fourth quarter of 2018-19?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for the supplementary, but I am sure it will not surprise people to know that I do not have fourth quarter data for a range of peer hospitals. However, the opposition does have access to the incoming minister’s brief which notes that a particular hospital in New South Wales, which I will not name and shame, has a very similar profile to Canberra Hospital and a significantly worse outcome in terms of its performance.
It is absolutely the case—it is reflected in the incoming minister’s briefs, which the opposition has access to—that the peer hospitals for Canberra Hospital are facing the same challenges: significant increases in the complexity of patients who are presenting to emergency. Of course, within the ACT these challenges are exacerbated