Hospital general manager defends waiting times at Nepean Hospital

Nepean Hospital general manager Brett Williams.
Nepean Hospital general manager Brett Williams.

Nepean Hospital's general manager has pointed to improvements in emergency waiting times following criticism from the NSW Opposition.

In a statement released on September 12, hospital general manager Brett Williams said a focus on increasing capacity in the emergency department was helping to reduce waiting times for patients in what is one of the state’s busiest hospitals.

The latest Bureau of Health Information statistics pointed to 60.5 percent of patients spending four hours or less in the hospital’s emergency department, compared to 48.2 per cent in the same period last year.

“The hospital has recruited more doctors and changed processes in the ED to help deliver high quality care to patients more quickly,” Mr Williams said in the statement.

“Our staff are working hard to deliver timely care to everyone who presents to our emergency department. I thank them for their dedication.”

The comments came following criticism by the NSW Opposition that western Sydney hospitals had the highest emergency department waiting times in the state.

Nepean ranked fifth on the list for waiting times, behind Westmead, Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals.

The hospital statement also said the time patients waited to start treatment had also decreased compared to the same period in 2016.  Non-urgent, semi-urgent and urgent triage categories all improved despite an overall 3.8 percent increase in the number of emergency presentations to the ED.

Nepean Hospital has introduced new services to fast track some patients, including children, to ensure they receive treatment more quickly, it stated.

NSW’s only dedicated 24 hour Triage and Assessment Centre (TAC) opened earlier this year at the Mental Health service on the Nepean Hospital campus.

“People seeking urgent mental health care, who do not require treatment for physical injuries or other serious physical health conditions, can now go directly to the TAC,” the statement said. “Patients can be brought to the TAC by ambulance, police or family and friends without the need to attend the ED or make an appointment.”

Further work to begin later this year would help improve Nepean Hospital’s services ahead of the hospital’s major redevelopment,” Mr Williams said.

“We are relocating offices for our ED staff to help expand the clinical space within the footprint of the current emergency department,” he said. “This will help our staff to treat more patients and make our patients more comfortable in the ED.

“The stage one, $550 million, redevelopment of Nepean Hospital, already underway, will include a new, expanded, ED which will help our staff to better meet future demand.

“Funding for stage two of the Nepean Redevelopment will help the Hospital to further increase capacity to deliver a range of services.”