Emergency wait times await improvement

The Government has failed to deliver the original fifty urgent care clinics.

Cade Lucas

More than 60 per cent of emergency patients at Werribee Mercy Hospital were not treated within the recommended time last quarter.

The results contained in the latest Victorian Agency for Health Information Report, show that from July to September this year, just 39 per cent of emergency admissions to Werribee Mercy were treated within the recommended time, the lowest of any hospital in the state and less than half the statewide target of 80 per cent.

Despite being an improvement on both the previous quarter and the corresponding time last year, Werribee Mercy was still over 6 per cent below second last Ballarat Base Hospital and 30 per cent below the statewide average of 69.7 per cent.

Recommended wait times for emergency patients vary depending on their condition, with those requiring resuscitation considered category 1 and in need of immediate treatment, while non-urgent patients are considered category 5 and to be treated within two hours.

The median wait time for emergency patients at Werribee Mercy was also the longest in the state, at 38 minutes, two minutes faster than previous quarter, but slower than the 37 minutes for July to September 2022.

Ballarat Base Hospital was next best at 36 minutes, while the Victorian Heart Hospital was the best performing emergency department in the state with a median wait time of just four minutes.

In the 90th percentile measurement, indicating the amount of time in which 90 per cent of all patients were seen by a doctor or nurse, Werribee Mercy fared slightly better at 141 minutes, seven minutes better than the previous quarter and more than half an hour ahead of University Hospital Geelong which recorded a state worst of 175 minutes.

Werribee Mercy Hospital General Manager, Maree Pane, said the results reflected the strain Wyndham’s rapid growth had put the hospital under, but that changes to improve performance were underway.

“We’re working to alleviate these pressures through the planned Werribee Mercy Hospital Emergency Department expansion,” Ms Pane said.

“This expansion will increase treatment spaces and double our Emergency Department’s capacity, reducing wait times for the local community. While we progress this expansion in partnership with the Victorian Health Building Authority, we remain committed to improving the performance of our Emergency Department and continuing to deliver high quality healthcare to the community.”