EMERGENCY waiting times have gone downhill at Grafton Hospital as staff come to grips with an increase in patients passing through the department's doors.
Quarterly statistics for January to March show 72% of emergency patients were treated within the four-hour standard set by New South Wales Health - 3% worse than the same period last year and the state average.
It was the poorest performance out of the preceding 15 months, but only by a matter of 3%.
The hospital treated 5847 patients from January to March, compared to 5399 over the corresponding quarter in 2014.
Elective surgeries such as cataract removal and knee replacements were also on the rise, with surgeons carrying out 528 operations compared to 450 over the same phase the previous year.
The results for elective surgeries were more heartening.
Ninety-nine per cent of patients received treatment on time, waiting an average of 14 days of urgent elective surgery - the same as last year.
Semi-urgent operations were carried out after an average of 48 days - two days longer than 2014 - while there was a 223-day wait for non-urgent surgery.
The 223-day waiting period was 37 days longer than in 2014, but still well within the State Government's 365-day benchmark target.
There were 1013 people on the hospital's elective surgery waiting list at the end of March.
Emergency wait times held steady for NSW as a whole with an average 75% of patients being treated within four hours, despite a 17,000 increase in the number of admissions.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the NSW figures showed the state's hospitals were continually improving their performance.
"The proportion of patients who received elective surgery in the recommended timeframe is now 98% - the highest result ever reported," Mrs Skinner said.
"There is always more work to be done in ensuring timely care in our emergency departments but today's results are pleasing in the light of increasing demand."
MOST POPULAR ELECTIVE SURGERIES (JAN-MAR 2015)
- Cataract extraction (173)
- Hysteroscopy (119)
- Hernia operation (22)
- Gall bladder removal (18)
- Total knee replacement (18)