Issued: Wednesday, 1 February, 2017

Victorian hospitals have experienced unprecedented demand with 443,084 patients presenting at emergency departments across Victoria over the summer months the latest health performance data shows.

This is a 24 per cent increase in the last six years, with more than a third of these patients needing to be admitted to hospital – the highest number ever.

Last November’s unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event pushed hospital emergency departments to the limit, but this latest data confirms our doctors, nurses and paramedics rose to the challenge.

The number of hospital emergency arrivals at Geelong and metropolitan Melbourne hospitals spiked at 9909 across 21 and 22 November with the thunderstorm asthma event.

Ambulance Victoria analysis indicates that its December quarter response times are slightly above the previous three months, but without the surge in callouts for the thunderstorm asthma would have remained steady.

Hospital emergency department attendances also climbed as a result of the respiratory illness surge, but on most measures were an improvement on the previous three months.

The Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in ambulances and our health system is paying dividends, with elective surgery waiting times and ambulance response times an improvement compared to a year earlier.

Locally, Box Hill Hospital is performing well in a range of key areas.

  • Saw 17,054 patients who presented to the emergency department in the 3 months to the end of December – up from 15,060 presentations in the same quarter in 2015.
  • Treated 100% of the 115 Category 1 emergency patients immediately on arrival at the hospital ED in the 3 months to the end of December.
  • Treated 83% of Category 2 patients within 10 minutes of arrival at the ED in the 3 months to the end of December – up from 68% a year earlier, and beating the State-wide target of 80%.
  • Received 5283 ambulance arrivals at the busy ED in the 3 months to the end of December – up from 4939 arrivals a year earlier.
  • Completed the transfer of 92.8% of patients who arrived at the hospital in an ambulance in the December quarter within the target of 40 minutes, up on its 83.8% transfer rate in the December 2015 quarter and better than the State-wide benchmark of 90%.
  • Reduced the number of patients on the elective surgery waiting list – from 1778 at the end of the December 2015 quarter to 1632 at the end of this December.

Ambulance Victoria data confirms people in the City of Whitehorse can have confidence that in an emergency, they will get the care they need, quickly.

The proportion of ambulances in the City of Whitehorse which arrived within the benchmark 15 minutes for the most time-critical patients – including cardiac arrest, heart attack, major trauma and stroke patients – held firm at a high 89 per cent in the December quarter, the same as a year earlier.

Our $500 million plan to improve response times – the biggest ever investment in ambulance services – will employ 450 more paramedics, buy new vehicles and build new ambulance stations across the state.

Box Hill Hospital is sharing in an extra $1.353 million to Eastern Health as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s record $500 million plan to improve ambulance response times.

At Box Hill Hospital, the extra funding will help establish a new streamlined assessment and treatment system for arriving patients, and open three new short-stay beds for patients ready to be transferred out of the emergency department.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy

“These latest figures confirm all Victorians can have confidence in our hospitals, doctors, nurses and paramedics – they have done an exceptional job rising to the challenge of thunderstorm asthma, and the tragic Bourke Street incident.”

“We have never experienced such demand on our health system, but we are treating and caring for more patients than ever before.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Shaun Leane

“Our record investment in health means more patients at Box Hill Hospital will get the care, treatment and surgery they need sooner.”

“With more paramedics on the road, ambulances will be able to respond to life threatening emergencies in Whitehorse even more quickly.”