23 May, 2024
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The NSW Parliament’s inquiry into ambulance ramping has found the proportion of cases attended by ambulances within 15 minutes has almost halved since 2016.
The report also found that between 2016 and 2022:

  • The percentage of patients transferred from an ambulance to ED within 30 minutes has decreased by almost 20 per cent;
  • The percentage of patients starting treatment on time fell from 76.4 per cent to 62.8 per cent; and
  • The percentage of patients who spent four hours or less in the ED fell from 73.3 per cent to 57.6 per cent.

Emergency medicine staff specialist Dr James Tadros told the inquiry: ‘You can watch them deteriorate in front of your eyes just because you don’t have any access to treatment for them.’
The findings come a day after the release of the Bureau of Health Information’s latest data, which found:

  • 60,000 patients or one in every 12 walked into an Emergency Department in the last three months and left without, or before completing treatment. 
  • More than one in three Priority 1A patients, that is people with life threatening conditions like cardiac or respiratory arrest, waited longer than the 10-minute target for an ambulance to arrive.
  • Almost half of critical emergency patients did not start their treatment on time.
  • Almost 100,000 people were on elective surgery waiting lists at the end of September, including close to 18,000 who had waited longer than clinical guidelines say they should.

It also comes after the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s latest data, which found:

  • The average wait time at a NSW emergency department from presentation to admission has increased 4 hours and 41 minutes in 2017 to 6 hours and 15 minutes.
  • EDs in NSW are seeing 133,000 more people a year now, compared to five years ago.
  • Yet, we have three fewer public hospital emergency departments than five years ago. Meanwhile every other state has either stayed constant or increased their number of their EDs.
  • And almost ten per cent of people waited more than a year for elective surgery in NSW.

Since 2015-16, NSW has lost 365 hospital beds, while Victoria gained 598 and QLD gained 1,027.  
NSW Labor has announced it will boost the number of staff in the NSW hospital system, beginning with an additional 1,200 nurses in emergency departments.
Labor will also recruit 500 additional paramedics in regional areas.
Labor will also reverse the decline in hospital beds in NSW, starting with 250 additional beds in Canterbury and Fairfield Hospitals.
Quotes attributable to Ryan Park, NSW Shadow Minister for Health:  
“This report only confirms what too many of us already know, that our hospital system has fallen into crisis after 12 years of Liberals and Nationals.
“The Liberals and Nationals are in denial about the state of our hospital system, and refuse to acknowledge the severity of the situation.
“But ask anyone who has called an ambulance or has been in an emergency department recently, and they know too well the reality of long wait times and people simply giving up and leaving untreated.”


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