WAGGA Base Hospital management has insisted it is working to improve patient care in light of Bureau of Health Information data showing readmission rates between 2009 and 2012 were some of the state’s highest.
The report looked at readmissions to any hospital in the state following initial visits and found Wagga had a higher than expected readmission rate for those seeking treatment for strokes and pneumonia, as well as knee and hip replacements.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District operations director Brett Thompson said there were a variety of causes behind readmissions.
“While readmissions are an important parameter of performance, there are many reasons why a patient may be readmitted that may not be connected with their original treatment or care,” he said.
“The readmission rates for Wagga Base Hospital have been decreasing over the past three years as a result of a number of successful initiatives.”
Bureaur of Health Information chief executive Jean-Frederic Levesque echoed those sentiments at the report’s release last month.
“Not all returns to acute care can or should be avoided, however some represent a poor outcome for patients,” he said.
“Returning to hospital can be disruptive and stressful, and high rates can point to underlying issues such as complications or inappropriate post-discharge care.”
In April, the NSW Auditor General warned unplanned readmissions were already too high and continuing to rise.
Mr Thompson said the establishment of a rural stroke unit at Wagga Base Hospital had helped bring the readmission rate down in that category.
“Many aspects of stroke care provided at Wagga Base Hospital are at a level superior to our peers, including access to acute medical imaging, access to acute allied health intervention and mortality rates,” he said.
Other areas of treatment where Wagga Base has previously had high readmission rates have been addressed through a new integrated chronic disease care project and its Musculosekeltal Primary Health Care Initiative.
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