BHI: Another quarter of blowouts and backlogs across the Illawarra & South Coast

17 March 2021

Patients presenting to Wollongong Hospital’s Emergency Department are waiting longer than anywhere else in the State for treatment.

Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data from October to December show the median time spent in the Emergency Department at Wollongong Hospital has blown out to a record 4 hours and 4 minutes – the highest figure in NSW.
The number of patients waiting for elective surgery also increased to 7,231 as the waiting time for semi-urgent and non-urgent procedures blew out. Only 71% of patients underwent surgery on time compared to 85% the same quarter last year. Of significant concern, the wait time for those on the non-urgent list surged to 365 days – an increase of 30 days. 
The Member for Keira and Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said the Government can’t hide behind the impact of COVID-19 anymore.
“These figures are proof we have a healthcare system that is under continued pressure. From Wollongong to Shellharbour and the Shoalhaven, all three major hospitals in my region are under resourced and struggling to cope with increased demand. Quarter after quarter, we have seen blowouts and backlogs and nothing being done to address it. We need urgent action to address this crisis, there must be no excuses and no delays.”
The Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said: “The pressure on Wollongong Hospital’s Emergency Department remains acute with no improvement in median patient waiting times this quarter. Wollongong Hospital has again recording the longest Emergency Department waiting times in NSW – more than an hour longer than the average for the entire health system.”

The Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson said: “Enough is enough, the Government must take urgent action to address the elective surgery backlog. Even when the new Shellhabour Hospital is built, it will still take years to alleviate pressure on the local public health system, which is already struggling to cope with the region’s booming population.”