Emergency Care Improves

New figures show Tasmania's public health system is continuing to perform well in the face of increasing demand.

The latest Your Health and Human Services Progress Chart released recently included good results for emergency department performance, ambulance response times, and breast cancer screening.

Patients can have confidence in the public health system which continues to treat, help and heal thousands of Tasmanians every day.

The Progress Chart shows that in the six months ending 31 December 2012 all four major Tasmanian hospitals improved the number of patients who were treated in emergency departments within four hours. 

At the Royal Hobart Hospital, the performance has improved across all categories for patients seen within recommended time frames.

The same is true at the Launceston General Hospital, with the exception of category five non-urgent cases, which fell slightly.

Despite very slight falls in performance over the past three months, both the North West Regional Hospital and the Mersey Community Hospital continue to deliver ED performance which is well above the national target.

Taken as a whole, the activity of our emergency departments has increased by 4 per cent on the same period last year.

Tasmanians can also have confidence that the Ambulance Service is there when needed.

Demand for ambulance services increased by 4 per cent in the six months to December 31, but the median response time remained at 11.0 minutes – the same level as recorded in 2009.

The progress chart shows that the overall waiting list for elective surgery across the state remained steady.

The Federal Government has allocated $31.2 million over four years to tackle elective surgery – while the State Government has provided an extra $4 million for endoscopy and other elective surgery this financial year.

This is having a positive effect with the waiting list for elective surgery across all four hospitals remaining steady over the three months to December – moving from 7 712 cases to 7 713 cases.

New investment is occurring to provide elective surgery for those patients who have been waiting the longest.

The median wait time for elective surgery at all four hospitals continues to be well within the national benchmark of 48 days.

The median wait time for elective surgery increased at the Royal Hobart Hospital and the Launceston General Hospital but fell at the North West Regional Hospital and the Mersey Community Hospital.

The State's hospitals continued to perform well in the face of increasing demand and the need to put health spending on a sustainable footing.

The Progress Chart also revealed excellent results for cancer screening with the number of women screened increasing by 8 per cent and the percentage called back for further assessment within 28 days remaining steady.

The latest edition of the Your Health and Human Services Progress Chart is available at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/performance.

27 March 2013