MyHospitals report reveals North Coast still failing patients

PATIENTS at NSW North Coast hospitals are still waiting too long in congested emergency departments, a MyHospitals report has revealed.

In the latest audit, only one hospital - Tweed - was meeting the NSW target of 76% of all patients to leave emergency departments within four hours of arrival by the end of 2013.

Grafton was sitting at 61% and Coffs Harbour at 55%.

Turn-around rates at Lismore Hospital were down to 47%.

At December last year, Lismore was the only hospital on the North Coast to experience a jump in waiting times.

Northern NSW Local Health District chief said the negative results were largely due to the cramped emergency department which would be significantly improved when the upgrade was completed in early 2014.

Only nine regional hospitals in the state are currently meeting the target.

By 2016, the target is expected to increase to 90%.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner believes the latest round of junior medical officer recruitment will be key to improving services in regional and rural hospitals.

About 4000 positions have been opened up for the 2014 clinical year for doctors with at least one year post-graduate work experience.

Ms Skinner said applicants would be encouraged to focus on regional hospitals, particularly in areas experiencing continued population growth.

Applications close on August 15.

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