By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland Hills Hospital board learned at its February meeting that NHH is performing better than the provincial average in terms of wait-time criteria.
President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Walsh said the hospital is experiencing “unprecedented volume” but, in her report, cited the good news from Health Quality Ontario.
While both NHH and the provincial average were both 2.1 hours wait time to first assessment by a doctor, NHH outperformed in all other listed criteria.
Length of stay in emergency for low-urgency patients not admitted to hospital was 3.2 hours provincially and 2.4 hours at NHH. While 73% of patients provincially finished their emergency visit within the target time of four hours, 87% of NHH patients achieved that target.
Length of stay in emergency for high-urgency patients not admitted to hospital was 4.7 hours provincially and 3.9 hours at NHH. While 88% of these patients provincially finished their emergency visit within the target time of eight hours, 96% of NHH patients met that criterion.
Length of stay in emergency for all patients admitted to hospital was 22.4 hours provincially and less than half that – 10.8 hours – at NHH. While 23% of these patients provincially were admitted to hospital from emergency within the target time of eight hours, 40% of NHH patients met that goal.
Walsh cited another indicator – the LWBS rate, which stands for left without being seen. The provincial average in this category is 5%. At its rate of 2.3%, her report said, NHH’s emergency department was the second-lowest in this area out of the 27 hospitals in the East Region (second only to Kingston’s Hotel Dieu).
A Canadian Medical Association report has recently warned that the country’s emergency departments are overburdened and working in crisis mode. And in Ontario, Walsh’s report said, “some hospitals have taken steps to caution patients of longer than usual wait times and made recommendations to seek other supports as appropriate and able.”
In spite of the high patient volumes, she continued, “NHH has not had to issue such a disclaimer at this time.”