ACT STILL BEHIND ON EMERGENCY WAIT TIMES, DESPITE HIGHER SPENDING

Urgent patients waiting too long

ACT STILL BEHIND ON EMERGENCY WAIT TIMES, DESPITE HIGHER SPENDING

By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit – Cathy Yeulet/123rf.com

Canberra’s emergency departments are the worst when it comes to seeing urgent patients on time, despite the ACT Government almost tripling its hospital spending.

That’s according to data released by the Productivity Commission, which shows two in five patients aren’t seen within the recommended 30-minute timeframe.

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris has admitted, improvements can be made.

“I certainly accept that we need to catch up to some other jurisdictions performance, but other jurisdictions have a very different make up of hospitals. What we have here is two emergency departments that are very busy. Canberra Hospital is one of the busiest emergency departments in the country,” she said.

The Minister said there’s other factors contributing to the latest results…

“We are seeing some pressures on the costs, that is because unlike any other jurisdiction in the country, we have significant cross border flows from New South Wales really only coming one way in. Here in the ACT, we treat a lot of New South Wales patients,” she said.

“I expect to see the costs come down next year because we’re delivering services at a lower cost with improved performance. But also, the system wide data review has identified that the way we measure some of those costs could be improved.”

The Minister hopes the introduction of more nurse-led walk-in centres will help ease the pressure on our emergency departments.

Meanwhile, the Canberra Liberals have jumped on the latest figures, criticising the ACT Government for spending too much, without the results to justify it.

“I’ll be delving into why it’s not improving when we see such big increases in expenditure. People would be happy to see increases in expenditure if they were getting the results but they’re not getting the results,” Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.

“The risk is that the longer they wait for services, the more acute their problems become and the worst their health outcomes will be.”

A system-wide data review is expected to be complete by the end of March.

What’s your experience been like in Canberra’s public hospitals? Have your say at our Facebook page!

;