Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Datapoints Perth 01.


Subject: hospital emergency waiting times


The West Australian is the most widely circulated newspaper in Perth. Snippets from a article dated 05 Jan 2005 byline Katherine Fleming, headlined Hospital queues getting longer:


For emergency cases:

People waited longer for treatment in Perth's emergency departments last year than four years ago and many spent longer waiting for elective surgery than medically desirable, according to the Health Department's annual reports.

Category one patients in emergency departments - who need immediate attention - were almost all treated within the recommended time but the less seriously ill waited longer.

The Australian College for Emergency Medicine recommends category two patients, such as those with chest pains, be seen within 10 minutes. Category three patients should be seen within 30 minutes, category four within an hour and category five within two hours.

But according to the 2003-04 report of the Metropolitan Health Service, 31.77 per cent of category two patients in Perth's emergency departments were not seen within 10 minutes.

Almost 41 per cent of category three patients were not seen in the recommended time, along with 48.47 per cent of category four and 32.85 per cent of category five patients.

The percentage of category two, three, four and five patients not seen in time was bigger last year than in 2000-01.

Figures for category one patients were slightly improved.


For elective surgery:

Elective surgery figures showed 37 per cent of category one patients still on waiting lists at June 30 last year had waited longer than the recommended 30 days.

Patients are placed in urgency categories based on the likelihood their condition will become an emergency if not treated within a certain timeframe.

Figures showed 47 per cent of category two patients - who should be admitted within 90 days - were still on the list at June 30 had been waiting longer.



Non-urgent dental care
The waiting time for non-urgent dental care under Dental Health Service increased to 14 months from 12 months the previous year, more than double the six-month wait from 1999-2000.


***


In comparison, the SO was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) last week. The TTSH A&E department is the largest and the busiest in Singapore. Below is the timeline from that event (if memory serves):

2100hrs :
Stomach cramps and possible chest pains start. Assumed it was food poisoning or indigestion.

0300hrs :
Pain intensify. Visit to 24 hour clinic. Oral painkillers. Critical signs normal. Dismissed as non-emergency.

0700hrs :
Pain intensify. Visit to regular doctor. Painkillers by injection. Referral to hospital A&E if pains do not subside in a few hours.

1015hrs :
Leave for closest hospital A&E which was TTSH.


1045hrs :
Arrive at TTSH. Required to "register" since patient came in walking bent-over and limping, but not on a trolley. Take a number and wait.

1115hrs :
Registered. Asked to wait at triage holding area. Watched at least one patient arrive unconscious in an ambulance rushed past triage into treatment. Another patient who was visibly shivering (convulsing?) and throwing up was held in same queue without priority.

1200hrs :
Seen by triage nurse. Critical signs still within limits. Drug allergies noted and tagged on medical bracelet. Put on trolley and sent into treatment room. Other less urgent patients had to wait their turn outside treatment room.

1230hrs :
Held in treatment room on-hold as more critical cases were attended to by emergency staff. Blood pressure and critical signs regularly monitored. Got chased out of the treatment room at this point as I was a non-patient.

1330hrs :
Was informed that SO had undergone ECG, X-ray and had blood taken. Plug for drip inserted into back of hand. ECG and X-ray normal, waiting blood work results. More painkillers had been administered, so at least pain under control.

1530hrs :
Blood work results show some kind of viral infection in the blood. Medical officer suggest admission for observation and more blood tests. Take a number and queue for admissions.

1600hrs :
Admissions paperwork completed. Waiting for a hospital bed.

1630hrs :
Hospital bed assigned. Warded.



1 Comments:

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January 06, 2005 11:53 PM  

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