Emergency department feeling strain

Ashwini SaseedaranSound Telegraph
Rockingham General Hospital among list of State hospitals experiencing strain.
Camera IconRockingham General Hospital among list of State hospitals experiencing strain. Credit: The Sunday Times

Rockingham General Hospital has been revealed as one of many State hospitals experiencing strain in emergency departments.

The list was reported by Shadow Health Minister Sean L’Estrange in a parliamentary proceeding last month when he said the delivery of health services and existing infrastructure was in need of upgrades.

“We have a growing ageing problem in Western Australia and if we do not work hard to continuously improve and build the health system so it is fit for purpose, the pressure points will get worse,” he said.

“The Liberal-National government introduced a key performance indicator with the goal of anyone who turns up at an emergency department is seen within four hours — if that is not achieved, that statistic is recorded and shows which hospitals are under strain.”

The WA Emergency Access Target was established in 2016 to drive improvement in patient access to emergency services by stipulating 90 per cent of all emergency patients would be seen, admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

Rockingham Peel Group executive director Kath Smith said Rockingham General Hospital’s 78 per cent rate actually made it one of the highest performing general hospitals.

“The emergency department on average will care for more than 4530 patient attendances each month,” she said.

“Staff are committed to providing timely and accessible care and to improve WEAT performance and we have developed several sustainable solutions to enhance patient flow.”

Mr L’Estrange said the statistics showed the hospitals were unable to clear people through in four hours, which meant the workplace was under pressure, understaffed or not big enough to cope.

Other hospitals listed as showing no improvement in four-hour wait times included Fiona Stanley Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women.

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