Vexation as hospital places last once again
District health board members have expressed frustration that Palmerston North Hospital continues to be the worst performer in achieving shorter stays in its emergency department.
Figures from the fourth quarter, while not yet confirmed, show that compared to other health boards, MidCentral remains at the bottom of the table, with only 89 per cent of patients being admitted, discharged or transferred from the emergency department within six hours.
This is down from 90 per cent last quarter and below the national target of 95 per cent.
DHB member Richard Orzecki expressed his frustration over the issue at the board's hospital advisory committee meeting yesterday.
"We talk about all the other good things we do but we just can't seem to crack this short stays figure," Orzecki said.
"I'm tired of reading that we are at the bottom of the heap. It seems to be something we can't get on top of."
Hospital services operations director Lyn Horgan said the patient flow through the rest of the hospital was key to achieving the target and had improved.
The department was at 91 per cent of its target so far for July, which was positive given that it was winter, Horgan said.
"We've seen a big improvement."
MidCentral District Health Board chairman Phil Sunderland agreed it was frustrating but said he was hopeful of an improvement.
"Even in a busy time we are starting to move up, which is really encouraging," Sunderland said. "I hope it's sustainable and can continue for July to reach our target . . . perhaps we've turned a corner."
Sunderland said it was important to maintain the level of improvement that had been reached. "We don't want to be at the bottom of the table."
The shorter stays result in May was 90 per cent, but down to 88 per cent in June, both down from 90.1 per cent in April.
Last year in May the result was 87 per cent and June was at 84.8 per cent.
There were 60 more presentations this June compared to the same month last year, with a daily average of 115 presentations. May's daily average was 109 presentations. The percentage of patients admitted in June was 30.8 per cent, above May's figure of 30.2 per cent and last year's June figure of 29.1 per cent. The daily admission rate was 35.3, compared to May, which was 32.9 per day.
MidCentral has sought advice from Capital and Coast DHB regarding their successful processes in the emergency department.