NSW health opponents in a battle

DEPUTY Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt and State Opposition deputy leader and spokeswoman on Health Jillian Skinner are indulging in a spot of arm-wrestling on hospital statistics.

Ms Tebbutt says the quarterly report for October to December shows there was an increase of 4.1 per cent in the number of people attending emergency departments and a 4.9 per cent increase in the patients admitted to hospital via emergency departments, compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

“On average in NSW 89 per cent of people admitted for planned surgery receive their surgery within benchmark times compared with the Australian average of 86 per cent,” she said.

The Minister said swine flu presentations to hospitals in July and August affected surgery targets, but NSW still exceeded the number of admissions for planned surgery for July-December, 101,082 which was 575 above the Commonwealth target.

Ms Skinner said the same hospital performance figures showed there were 10,000 more patients on the surgical waiting list compared to last year.

Ms Skinner, who will be in Coffs Harbour today to open the new Park Beach Medical Practice, and will also visit the UNSW Rural Clinical School, listed Coffs Harbour as one of 13 NSW hospitals under stress, saying the hospital’s emergency department scored only 73% for Triage 2 patients (imminently life threatening: to be seen within 10 minutes); 63% for Triage 3 (to be seen within 30 minutes) and 65% for Triage 4 (to be seen within one hour). All of these results were below the Australian standard.

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