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Speedy treatment for emergency patients

Speedy treatment for emergency patients, new report shows

Every emergency department patient with an urgent life-threatening condition was treated immediately in the three months to September, according to new Ministry of Health figures released today.

Hospital Benchmark Information (HBI) reports are produced quarterly and track New Zealand’s public hospitals against 15 performance measures, says Chief Clinical Advisor Dr Sandy Dawson.

“This is the first time our records show all District Health Boards (DHBs) met the target of treating the most urgent triage 1 emergency department patients immediately.

“We congratulate hospital staff for the hard work that made this happen for their communities,” said Dr Dawson.

Fifteen DHBs met or exceeded the target for Triage 2, with 80 percent of patients seen within 10 minutes, compared with eight last quarter.

Twelve DHBs met the target for treating 75 per cent of Triage 3 patients within the recommended 30 minutes, compared with five last quarter.

“This is a really encouraging improvement and a tribute to the work of clinical and management staff in hospitals,” said Dr Dawson.

The report helps hospitals measure their performance against one another and look for ways to improve. Among the performance measures are triage times (emergency department waiting times), patient satisfaction, average length of stay and acute readmissions.

The national infection rate of hospital acquired Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections for the September quarter was 0.17 infections per 1000 bed days respectively. The March 2007 report was the first to record the number of S. aureus bloodstream infections.

“We expect a high degree of statistical variability in these figures over time, so it is difficult to make conclusions about DHB performance at this early stage,” said Dr Dawson.

“We’re focusing on S. aureus infections because they are common, they are one cause of poor outcomes for patients, they are potentially avoidable and treating them well prevents microbial resistance.”

Improving practice for dealing with one infection reduces the incidence of all hospital acquired infections, Dr Dawson said.

Nationwide, overall patient satisfaction remains high at 88 percent.
For a copy of the reports go to:


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