Bureau of Health Information report shows wait times at Wagga's emergency department continue to improve

Wagga Rural Referral Hospital staff have showed they are among the state’s best with another strong showing in a new health report.

According to figures released by the Bureau of Health Information on Tuesday, emergency cases were being treated faster than the state’s average.

With the exception of minor cases like small cuts or abrasions, patients presenting to the emergency department were being seen quicker than in previous years.

Hospital director Helen Cooper praised her staff for the achievement. 

“Having worked in other places, what (our staff) do is phenomenal, the time for treatment is one of the best in the state,” Ms Cooper said.

“There’s a really great commitment to that initial treatment, which is where we can make a real difference.

“Occupancy in the hospital is one of the highest it’s been (but) to maintain and improve those numbers is a full credit to the staff.”

However, the number of people attending the emergency department with relatively minor injuries like small cuts and colds have increased year on year, from 809 between April and June last year to 1025 this year.

Ms Cooper said it was important to remember that the emergency department was for emergencies.

“We really encourage people get in to see their GP where they can, the wait times will be less and they’re likely to get better one on one care,” she said.

“We’d love to see everyone but we have to focus on the sickest person first.

“This is a significant increase and will be one to watch very closely… it’s definitely something we need to ensure does not keep rising.”

The positive result could hardly have come at a better time for Murrumbidgee Local Health District, after decisions to reduce services in Griffith and Temora led to calls for an independent inquiry.

Councillor Paul Funnell said if MLHD had any problems it should be up front about them, and said he would ask councillors to put pressure on the organisation to reveal what was going on.

“Health is not the core business of council, but our growth forecast is for an extra 20,000 people in the next 20 years and we need to find out what’s happening,” Cr Funnell said. “If the doctors and nurses are punching above their weight with limited resources, well done to them, but imagine how amazing our health system could be if their political masters did the same.”