Nearly 40 per cent of emergency patients wait more than four hours at Nepean

Nearly 40 per cent of emergency department patients wait more than four hours for treatment at Nepean Hospital, according to new figures.

The latest independent Bureau of Health Information (BHI) quarterly data released by the NSW Opposition showed 39.5 per cent of patients passing through Nepean Hospital’s emergency department waited longer than four hours.

Nepean ranked fifth in the state for the longest emergency department waits, behind other western Sydney hospitals Westmead, Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals.

But Penrith MP and Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres congratulated hospital staff for an increase in the number of people getting through emergency in less than four hours.

“I am pleased to see an increase of 12.3 per cent in the number of patients through the emergency department at Nepean Hospital in four hours or less,” he said. 

“I congratulate the staff at the hospital on such a great improvement over the past twelve months.” 

Opposition Health Spokesman Walt Secord said there had been an increase in the proportion of patients who spent longer than four hours in the emergency department in 26 of the state’s hospitals, and emergency department presentations increased in 63 out of 75 NSW hospitals.

He said the data showed the NSW health and hospital system was under enormous pressure with massive numbers of patients presenting to emergency departments and elective surgery lists continuing to grow.

“Patients are flooding emergency department because they cannot get into a GP’s practice or they are unable to pay extra for a GP – putting unnecessary pressure on the state’s emergency departments. In desperation, families on tight budgets are turning to emergency departments,” he said in a statement.

“Sadly, patients wait at every stage in NSW. They wait for an ambulance; they wait outside the emergency department and they wait inside the emergency department. They wait for a bed and then they are discharged early to make room for other patients.” 

Londonderry MP Prue Car said western Sydney’s rapidly expanding population was putting hospitals under pressure.

“Anyone who has been to Nepean Hospital knows how hard the staff are working in very difficult circumstances,” she said.

“Gladys Berejiklian needs to take responsibility for a health system that is going from bad to worse.”

But Mr Ayres said the government had made significant investments in Nepean Hospital.

“When it comes to investing in the future capacity of Nepean Hospital, the contrast couldn't be more stark,” he said. 

“I have secured $576 million to grow the hospital with construction starting soon. In contrast, Federal Labor has committed a paltry $88 million and state Labor committed nothing.

“Labor failed Nepean Hospital for years and they are still trying to short change the hospital."