IT WAS a busy end to the winter at Ballarat Base Hospital with more bed days and patients through the door than at any other time in the previous year.
New Victorian Health Services Performance data for July to September shows hundreds of extra patients sought treatment, with admissions increasing from 8342 to 8959 in 12 months.
The Base admitted 3024 emergency patients in the three months, up from 2680 emergency admissions in the September 2012 quarter.
Although the number of patients fell in the top triage category – requiring the most urgent treatment – there were more category two, three and four patients than the previous quarter.
Despite this, 100 per cent of category one emergency patients were treated immediately on arrival.
Health Minister David Davis said hospitals across the state were treating emergency patients more quickly.
“Our hospitals are treating more emergency patients than ever before, and treating them in a more timely and efficient manner,” he said.
The Base received 2225 ambulance arrivals, up from 2072 arrivals in the September 2012 quarter.
In this period the median ambulance transfer time increased from 12 to 14 minutes.
But the hospital still exceeded the 90 per cent state benchmark on ambulance patient transfer times, with 93.1 per cent occurring within 40 minutes.
Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie has previously criticised the 40-minute target as exceptionally long and in need of review.
But Mr Davis praised the results and said the indicators all showed “a pleasing improvement” in the way hospitals were providing treatment to emergency department patients.
“The Coalition government was determined to address bottlenecks in emergency departments, and this data confirms we are turning things around,” he said.