Signs of improvement despite major challenges confronting health system
The health system is showing signs of improvement as NSW public hospitals continue to face major pressures, according to the latest release of Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data.
Across the state, the number of surgical patients waiting longer than clinically recommended have decreased from 14,067 to 9142 between the end of March and the end of June.
Just days after being sworn in, Health Minister Ryan Park established the NSW Surgical Care Taskforce dedicated to improving the delivery of surgical services and reducing the state’s planned surgery wait list.
The taskforce has brought together some of the state’s leading clinical experts, working in both the public and private health sectors.
It continues to examine a range of best-practice models, including safely increasing day-only surgery, boosting virtual care and remote monitoring of patients, enhancing systems of referrals and assessment of patients by multidisciplinary teams, and maximising the efficiency of operating theatres for planned surgery.
The latest BHI data shows continuing high levels of demand for emergency care, including record NSW Ambulance activity.
Throughout the second quarter of 2023, there were 117,949 triage category 2 (emergency) presentations to NSW public hospitals, the highest number on record.
Despite the increase in more complex presentations, the majority of patients, 65.8%, started their treatment on time, an improvement on the same quarter last year.
Throughout the quarter, more than 7 in 10 patients (74.1%) were transferred from ambulance to ED staff within the 30-minute benchmark time, also an improvement on the same quarter of last year.
The newly elected Minns Labor Government is undertaking a comprehensive suite of structural reforms to rebuild the state’s health system, including:
- Building an engaged, capable and supported workforce, beginning with implementing safe staffing levels, with a memorandum of understanding signed with nurses just last week.
- Improving health workforce conditions, including with the abolition of the wages cap and the rollout of study subsidies.
- Enhancing the accessibility and delivery of healthcare across rural and regional NSW, including with a boost to regional paramedics; doubling rural health incentives and expanding the single employer model.
- Safely delivering the essential health services our community deserves, including through a special commission of inquiry into health spending.
- Reducing surgery wait times with the establishment of a surgical care taskforce.
- Providing the health infrastructure and technology for communities across NSW, including by embracing urgent care and virtual care, relieving pressure on our hospitals.
The Minns Labor Government remains committed to improving the essential health services our community deserve and building an engaged, capable and supported workforce.
Minister for Health Ryan Park said:
“We’ve inherited a health system facing great pressure and significant strain. I’ve always said there are no quick fixes and it will take time to address these challenges.
“I want to thank our health workforce and NSW Health for their tireless efforts and persistence, in delivering essential services across our community.
“We are determined to begin rebuilding our state’s health system with a comprehensive and ambitious agenda.
“I want to make sure all people in NSW receive the right level of healthcare, service and access and have confidence in their hospital and health system.”