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Waitemata DHB exceeds ED health target

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waitemata DHB has not only achieved, but exceeded, the national health target of having 95% of emergency department patients admitted, discharged or transferred in six hours or less.

The DHB has focused actively on improving its performance on this target, which was achieved in spite of a massive increase in people attending the EDs over recent years.

"This is a historic milestone for our DHB, and has only been made possible through the commitment and hard work of all our people - from the orderlies and cleaners to the nurses and doctors," says CEO Dr Dale Bramley.

"The turnaround is even more remarkable when you consider that in June 2009, our performance against this target stood at just 61 percent for the quarter. At that stage we were the poorest performing DHB in the country. Now we are amongst the very best."

A new ED and Assessment & Diagnostic Unit at North Shore Hospital was commissioned to help address overcrowding issues. Constructed as part of the Lakeview extension which also houses the DHB's state-of-

the-art cardiology service, the new ED and ADU was opened in stages last year and is now fully operational, offering a combined 84 beds.

Dr Bhavani Peddinti, clinical director for emergency medicine, says other initiatives such as a short stay ward and discharge lounge for medical and surgical patients have also been developed to speed up bed availability and improve patient flow.

"It meant that ED patients didn't have to wait for hours to be admitted simply because we were waiting for a bed to be freed up elsewhere in the hospital."

Dr Bramley says these new initiatives have been crucial to keep up with a dramatic spike in ED patient numbers. In 2009, Waitemata DHB's EDs in North Shore and Waitakere treated a total of 78,000 people. Last year, the figure topped 100,000.

"We're seeing many, many more people in our emergency departments. We had been expecting a substantial increase when we opened up Waitakere Hospital for round-the-clock emergency care for children and adults, but ED patient numbers have grown strongly at North Shore as well.

"As a DHB, we always seek to do more for the communities that we serve. A number of new initiatives are planned to start in the near future, including an expanded paediatric unit at Waitakere Hospital, new dental clinics for children in our district, as well as a new gestational diabetes service."

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