Nearly three-quarters of patients who waited longer than six
hours in the Dunedin Hospital emergency department in October
were admitted to wards, new figures show.
That month, 427 patients were not treated or transferred
within the target time of six hours, 12% of presentations. Of
those, 311 were admitted to various wards in the hospital.
This compares with a general admission rate from ED of about
The figures were included in papers before Southern District
Health Board members at their meeting in Dunedin yesterday.
''Therefore our focus remains related to the general flow of
patients through to inpatient beds exacerbated by a
continuation of [a] 5% increase in presentations to ED from
the previous year,'' patient services executive director
Lexie O'Shea's report said.
Late yesterday afternoon, a spokesman said when contacted the
difference in admission rates reflected that it took longer
to admit patients to wards, than to treat and discharge them
in ED. This was because of logistical factors like waiting
for specialists from other wards to assess patients.
A letter from the Ministry of Health which in part criticised
the board for lack of progress cutting ED waiting times
attracted no comment from board members during the 30-minute
public section of their meeting.
The November 30 letter presented feedback on the latest
health target results from their respective national
ED target champion Prof Mike Ardagh said it was disappointing
the board's performance decreased in the last quarter (86%
compared with 90%).
''I am concerned that some significant pieces of work appear
to be on hold while changes are made to your organisational
structure,'' he said, referring to recent management
He acknowledged the busy winter season had affected waiting
The letter also shed light on how far behind its elective
surgery schedule the board actually is, given it has said IT
problems are obscuring the results.
Elective surgery target champion Clare Perry said she
understood the board was about 5% behind planned elective
volumes, as of November 22.