Hospital wait blowout

By Tate Papworth

Patients presenting at Sunshine Hospital face some of the longest wait times in the country.

Just 71 per cent of emergency patients (those requiring treatment within 10 minutes) were treated on time in 2016-17, according to the federal government’s MyHospitals website.

The average for medium metropolitan hospitals with an emergency department was 79 per cent.

The gap widens for less urgent care. For Sunshine patients requiring treatment within 30 minutes of arrival, 51 per cent were seen on time, compared to the average for similar hospitals of 65 per cent.

Just 51 per cent of those requiring semi-urgent treatment at Sunshine (within 60 minutes) were seen on time, compared to the peer group average of 73 per cent.

Non-urgent wait times (treatment recommended within 120 minutes) sat at 72 per cent, well below the peer group average of 90 per cent.

A Western Health spokesperson said Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department was being stretched.

“Sunshine Hospital emergency department is one of the busiest in the state with more than 250 patients a day,” she said.

“Sunshine Hospital is currently operating beyond its physical capacity, which means significant barriers to treating less urgent patients in the most timely way.

“This is the reason the state government has agreed to fund significant expansion of Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department. Until this occurs, Western Health continues to take all steps to minimise wait times.”

The state government’s $29.6 million commitment to an upgraded emergency department will deliver an extra 31 treatment spaces in the emergency department, a separate children’s section, a medical imaging suite and an expanded administration area.

Once complete, the hospital will have capacity to treat an extra 59,000 emergency patients every year.