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Top of the south emergency departments congratulated

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wairau and Nelson Emergency Departments (ED) consistently exceeds the national target of 95% of patients admitted, discharged or transferred to a hospital ward within six hours.

Chief Executive Chris Fleming said, "I congratulate the ED teams in both Wairau and Nelson Hospitals for their consistently high ranking and their improvement in the triage times over the past year.

"This has come at a time when our EDs are under sustained pressure seeing more patients now than ever before.

"This shows the commitment of ED staff towards developing strategies to reduce length of stay times."

He said this achievement means that the whole of hospital system is working together in a coordinated way to the benefit of patients in our care.

The winter season is usually a very difficult time for our EDs as winter illness fills our Medical Wards and admitting patients into Wards that are near capacity is a challenge that staff meet every day.

Therefore congratulations also goes to everyone who contributes to this coordinated system.

Emergency Department Clinical Director, Tom Morton said, "This consistent performance is due to ongoing fine-tuning and the teams’ commitment to patient care.

He said the six-hour target is in the best interests of the patients attending ED

"It’s not only a measure of the efficiency of flow of acute patients through ED it’s also about improving the quality of care.

"Reducing the length of time patients spend in a crowded ED is better for the patients and better for the hospital. Medical literature has linked long stays in the emergency department to negative clinical outcomes such as increased mortality and longer stays in hospital," said Dr Morton.

The target also helps us to understand the barriers to access to the right care in the right place at the right time, he said.

He said there are cases where a longer stay in ED is appropriate.

"A patient might have to wait many hours for a particular test result, but this may show they can go home and avoid admission, which is a better outcome for both the patient and hospital."

Each patient who enters ED is assigned a triage category from 1 to 5 based on their clinical need. The latest triage figures show that in Wairau Hospital all five triage times are being met, and in Nelson there is further work to be done with Triage 3 patients who are assessed as needing to be seen within 30 minutes currently this was met 72.46% of the time whereas the target is 75%.

Dr Morton said, "We can assure the public that the sickest patients with the highest clinical need are seen first, and when we have a number of patients with high clinical need we manage these within the resources available."

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