Health check-up shows the system’s improving
OUR doctors, nurses, dentists, other healthcare professionals and politicians appear to have discovered the right medicine for treating the Sunshine Coast.
New figures show waiting times in emergency departments are down, the long wait for dental treatment is over and more elective surgery is happening than before.
The latest Quarterly Health System Check-up has highlighted the region's ability to cope with demand.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Board chair Paul Thomas praised the efforts of the service.
"I am very pleased that despite record patient numbers at local emergency departments, in the June quarter 76% of patients had a length of stay in the ED of less than four hours," Prof Thomas said.
"This is a tremendous improvement over the June 2012 quarter performance of 63%."
Long-standing dental waiting lists were also a sore topic of the past.
"In March 2013, there were 4085 people who had been on our dental waiting list for two years or more," Prof Thomas said.
"As at June 30, there was no one at all waiting that long for dental treatment."
The "check-up" also included elective surgery.
A snapshot taken at June 30 showed 173 patients had waited longer than benchmark times, but in the month to August 1, the figure had dramatically reduced to 67.
"More than 1000 additional elective surgery cases were being performed in 2013-14 than in the previous year," Prof Thomas said.
"It is often overlooked that more than 50% of surgery conducted at Nambour hospital was emergency rather than elective.
"This makes the elective performance achievement even more significant."
Prof Thomas acknowledged the dedication of staff at the service and expressed the board's commitment to ongoing performance improvement.
"The construction of the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital is progressing well and when it opens in late 2016 we will have a world-class hospital as the centrepiece of an even more capable local health care network," he said.