Campbelltown Hospital receives mixed report card

Data showed that about 40 per cent of patients in the emergency department at Campbelltown Hospital waited more than four hours for treatment. Picture: Chris Lane
Data showed that about 40 per cent of patients in the emergency department at Campbelltown Hospital waited more than four hours for treatment. Picture: Chris Lane

Campbelltown Hospital has been given a mixed report card in the latest health statistics.

The quarterly results from the Bureau of Health Information were released this week.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said the data showed that about 40 per cent of patients in the emergency department at Campbelltown Hospital waited more than four hours for treatment.

That’s the third highest result in the state.

“Campbelltown Hospital is being stretched to the absolute limit, and despite the tireless efforts of our doctors, nurses, clinicians and allied health workers it is struggling to keep up with the growth in our population,” Mr Warren said.

“Earlier this week we saw the plans for the stage two upgrade, which is undoubtedly needed, but a new building isn’t much use without the investment in the staff and resources needed for it to operate effectively.”

Mr Warren was concerned the emergency department was “feeling the squeeze” of increased demand from the increase in population.

There was an eight per cent increase in the number of people presenting to the emergency department compared to the same period last year – up from 16,916 to 18,336.

Acting Campbelltown Hospital general manager Karen Kenmir dismissed the criticism and welcomed the positive results from the report.

“Campbelltown Hospital saw the highest increase in emergency department presentations in the district – up 8.2 per cent, an extra 1365 patients through the door,” she said.

“Despite this, 80.1 per cent of patients started their treatment on time, an improvement from the same quarter last year of 2 per cent, and a big jump in recent years from 69.7 per cent in 2010.

“The percentage of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours has also improved by 4.8 per cent from the same quarter last year, and from 53.1 per cent in 2010 to 60.7 per cent.”

Ms Kenmir also said there were significant improvement across all categories of patients presenting to the emergency department, and particularly those who were sicker and required resuscitation and emergency or urgent care.

There was also a 5.7 per cent increase in ambulance arrivals, with an extra 261 patients arriving by ambulance during the quarter.

“Despite these increases, staff worked efficiently as a team and improved their record on treating people on time and discharging patients from the emergency department within four hours,” Ms Kenmir said.

While Mr Warren said there were some encouraging results in the report card, the focus should be on the areas that needed to be addressed.

“If you look at the figures, there is a long way to go,” he said.

“The results have been consistent for some time. It is unacceptable that we continue to see these results, especially when the population continues to increase.

“The government’s urban renewal plans have identified the areas around Campbelltown Hospital as a potential future health and education precinct – and that starts with a hospital that’s properly resourced and able to cater for our growing community.

“The state budget is being announced in just less than two weeks, and this data shows in black and white the urgent need for this budget to provide extra staff and resources for Campbelltown Hospital.

“The hospital will only improve with government funding, other funding and if appropriate resources are provided.”

Elective surgery results saw that Campbelltown Hospital patients were waiting much longer than the state wide average for a number of common procedures.

For a hysterectomy those attending Campbelltown Hospital waited on average 96 days longer for the surgery than the NSW median wait times. 

Hernia repair/removal surgeries took on average 64 days longer to occur.

Ear, nose and throat surgeries blew out to 140 days longer for Campbelltown patients.

Mr Warren said the hospital was struggling to keep pace with the increased demand for health services resulting from significant population growth in the Macarthur region, with the waiting list for elective surgery growing from 1,537 patients on 1 January to 1,687 patients on 31 March this year – an increase of 9.6 per cent.

Ms Kenmir disagreed and said the hospital’s elective surgery performance had improved, with 99.4 per cent of all procedures performed within the recommended timeframe – an improvement of 1 per cent.