Most emergency patients in NSW seen within 30 minutes during Omicron outbreak, report suggests

During the peak of the Omicron outbreak the majority of emergency department patients in Nuovo Galles del Sud were seen within 30 minuti, a new report from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) has revealed.

Il rapporto, which covers the period of January to March 2022, looks at how the health system coped with the thousands of daily Covid cases during the Omicron wave.

It ­­shows that during the first quarter of 2022, c'erano 734,704 attendances at NSW emergency departments (EDs).

Despite significant pressures on the health system, the majority of ED patients (70.5%) started treatment on time and almost eight in 10 pazienti (78.6%) were transferred from ambulance to ED staff within the 30-minute benchmark.

At the start of January the number of Covid patients admitted to hospital had risen to 120 ogni giorno, and by the end of the month hospital occupancy was above 95%.

Non-urgent elective surgery requiring an overnight stay was suspended from 10 January in public hospitals across NSW and resumed in a staged manner in February.

In that quarter 38,493 elective surgeries were performed across the state and almost all urgent elective surgeries (99.1%) were performed on time.

Public hospitals also performed more than 20,000 emergency surgeries during the quarter, which were not included in the BHI report, but were often the most critical surgical procedures.

Susan Pearce, the secretary of NSW Salute, said the latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report highlighted some of the impacts of the pandemic.

“We acknowledge the Omicron Covid-19 outbreak had an impact on the timeliness of care provided in our hospitals and by NSW Ambulance during this most challenging of quarters,” Pearce said.

“We have never seen a period like it before, from the huge volume of Covid-19 cases to the thousands of furloughed staff, and I want to thank the community for their understanding and patience as we faced the many challenges that came our way.”

Pearce said EDs across NSW remained under significant pressure due to high numbers of Covid-19 cases and now a surge in flu cases, which were also causing ongoing staff unavailability.

“Our local health districts are addressing these challenges in several ways, including increasing bed capacity in hospitals where possible; ensuring all available clinical staff are deployed to the care areas with the highest demand; and improving the timeliness of discharge for patients," lei disse.

Pearce said patients in EDs were always triaged and seen according to the clinical urgency of their condition.

During very busy times, those with less urgent conditions would experience longer wait times when there were large numbers of seriously unwell patients being prioritised for emergency care.

“We are asking the community to support us in our efforts to make sure those who need emergency medical care receive it as quickly as possible by saving ambulances and emergency departments for saving lives,” Pearce said.

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