Member for Goulburn clarifies waiting time data

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward.
Member for Goulburn Pru Goward.

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward has hit back at Labor’s recent attack over waiting times at Goulburn Base Hospital. 

It is in response to state shadow health spokesman Walt Secord’s visit to Goulburn on October 5 in which he highlighted waiting times of over a year for certain types of elective surgery. 

Mr Secord also pointed out the stats showed more than 20 per cent of patients at Goulburn Base Hospital waited more than four hours in the emergency department (ED).

The waiting time data came from the April to June Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data for the facility.

On Friday, Ms Goward said while she acknowledges that lengthy time periods in the emergency department were not desirable – the times reported the April-June 2017 period were “well within the accepted guidelines.”  

“The median time patients spend in the ED has improved year on year, and it should be noted that Goulburn Base Hospital waiting times are below the state average,” she said.

“Despite our records showing more visits to the ED than the same period last year, we have still managed to cut down the average waiting period.”

In regards to elective surgery, Ms Goward said two orthopaedic surgeons were recruited in October last year to meet the demand.

“Following this, SNSWLHD has appropriate numbers of orthopaedic surgeons.  The district now has three General Surgeons, four Orthopaedic Surgeons and one Gynaecologist  – all with regular lists. It also has two Ophthalmologists with regular lists, one Ear, Noes & Throat Surgeon with four lists per year and one Urologist,” she said.  

She maintained she a good working relationship with the local health staff. 

“I work really well with the local Nurses and Midwives Association and am always ready to take up their concerns with the LHD and the Minister,” she said. 

“Goulburn doesn’t need Walt Secord blowing into town, throwing a few exaggerated claims around and moving on.

“Local staff, including doctors at the hospital, would just be rolling their eyes at his ill-informed antics. Walt’s obviously been told to get out of Macquarie Street more but trying to scare Goulburn won’t work.”

Ms Goward said the median wait for non-urgent elective surgery at Goulburn is currently 233 days – 40 days fewer than for the same period last year. 

“The BHI figures cited (April-June 2017), demonstrate a continued overall improvement for Goulburn Base Hospital’s non-elective surgery waiting times,” she said. 

“The figures also show a total of 642 patients ready for elective surgery, down from 677 from the same period last year (-5.2%).  It is also important to note, that there has been a 47 per cent increase in the number of orthopaedic surgeries conducted at Goulburn Base Hospital compared to the same period last year.”

“Emergency department and elective surgery wait times are publicly available information. This information clearly demonstrates year on year improvements and suggestions otherwise are unclaimed and unfair to our wonderful nursing and health practitioners.”