Hospital performance up

LATROBE Regional Hospital performed better than the state average in several key areas of patient care, according to a report released last week.

Though State Shadow Minister for Health Gavin Jennings said the Victorian Health Services Performance Report showed Victorians were waiting longer in emergency departments at LRH, all category one emergency patients were treated immediately on arrival at the hospital in the three months ending in December.

The report also showed 81 per cent of category two patients had been treated within the required 10 minutes after arrival and 84 per cent of category five patients had been treated within the required two hours – the latter an improvement of two per cent on the previous three months.

State Health Minister David Davis said LRH showed an improvement in a number of key performance areas.

He did not, however, provide information on the treatment of category three emergency department patients, required to be seen within 30 minutes, but LRH said it had also improved in this area.

Mr Jennings said this was a target area not being met across the state.

Though LRH recorded an improvement in the number of patients admitted to emergency and transferred to a ward bed within the benchmark eight hours, 39 percent of these patients were still not transferred within that time.

Elective surgery patients fared better at LRH than the state average, according to the report.

All category one urgent elective patients were operated on within 30 days, in the December 2011 quarter, and 97 per cent of category two semi-urgent patients were treated within 90 days.

The percentage of non-urgent elective surgery patients being treated within the 365 days increased from 92 per cent to 99 per cent.

Mr Davis said 1164 patients from the elective surgery waiting list were admitted and operated on in the December 2011 quarter, up on 1097 admissions for the same period in 2010.

LRH also admitted a total of 8014 patients in the December 2011 quarter, 651 more than for the same period in 2010.

While Mr Davis said the December report listed 43,725 patients on the statewide elective surgery waiting list, up from 38,166 a year earlier, those patient numbers had decreased at LRH.

Mr Jennings warned the State Budget had ripped a further $134 million from the health budget, on top of a $482 million cut last year.

An LRH spokesperson said the hospital had no specific information yet on how the budget would affect its operations but “in general terms it will be a very lean budget”.

Mr Jennings said the number of mental health patients waiting longer than eight hours for admission to emergency departments had increased significantly statewide but LRH said this was another area where it had recorded an improvement.