PEOPLE seeking urgent medical treatment at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital is almost 20 per cent lower than usual, new health department data shows.
Emergency department presentations dropped to 12,577 cases between April and June, about 3000 fewer for the same period last year.
There was a significant dip in numbers at the start of May, just before the easing of state restrictions but the Base emergency department has been averaging about 1000 cases per week from late May through June.
BHS acute operations director Ben Kelly told The Courier in June that while the patient numbers were much lower than usual, the amount of people presenting with acute upper respiratory infections was much higher than usual.
The Base emergency department team had also experienced a doubling in presentations for social or psychological health concerns during this period.
Emergency department visits fell 25 per cent across the state from April to June, according to Victorian Health Services Performance data released on Saturday, with about 80 per cent of patients seen within benchmark times.
There was a significant increase for patients seen within target times at Ballarat at 65.93 per cent of cases, up from 57.07 last quarter.
Coronavirus-related calls have kept Victorian paramedics busy the past three months. Crews responded to more than 17,300 potential coronavirus cases across the state, averaging 191 cases per day, with extra decontamination and personal protective equipment requirements.
While Ballarat numbers were not available for potential coronvirus call-outs, Ballarat paramedics averaged a response of 8.32 minutes for the most urgent patients.
There were 81 ambulance arrivals at BHS Base Hospital for life-threatening illness in the three months to July. This was down from 92 arrivals the previous quarter in which the pandemic first hit the region.
Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos said the data showed emergency health care was still available for those who need it most amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our health system has proven to be well-prepared, adaptable and resilient and all Victorians can be reassured that whether they're presenting with coronavirus or not, our health services are ready to provide care to those who need it, when they need it," Minister Mikakos said.
"We know this will be an anxious time for those waiting for a procedure, but our focus right now has to be on responding to the pandemic. These sacrifices are vital to keeping our state safe and preventing our health system from being overwhelmed."
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