THAT’S BETTER: Patient Robert Scott is just one person who’s thrilled Rockhampton Hospital is eliminating long waits for a specialist visit. Mr Scott saw his GP for persistent nose bleeds and was surprised to receive his appointment letter just a few months later. He is pictured with ear nose and throat specialist Dr Andries Pienaar and registered nurse Sharon Miller.
THAT’S BETTER: Patient Robert Scott is just one person who’s thrilled Rockhampton Hospital is eliminating long waits for a specialist visit. Mr Scott saw his GP for persistent nose bleeds and was surprised to receive his appointment letter just a few months later. He is pictured with ear nose and throat specialist Dr Andries Pienaar and registered nurse Sharon Miller. Contributed

Hospital streamlines services to shorten waiting times

ROCKHAMPTON Hospital has streamlined its outpatient services to ensure patients are no longer facing a notoriously long wait for their turn to see a specialist.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Len Richards said US firm Rona Consulting was engaged to help introduce lean-thinking methods.

"It's all about finding better ways of doing business," Mr Richards said.

"Our staff have embraced this new way of working to identify and solve any blockages to ensure patients flow better through the system, and the outstanding results speak for themselves."

In June 2014 there were 3855 patients waiting longer than they should to see specialist; from the total wait list of 7264.

That was 46.9% of patients being seen by a specialist within clinically recommended guidelines.

At the end of May 2015 there were 889 patients waiting longer than clinically recommended for a specialist appointment, from a total wait list of 4748.

This vast improvement means 81.3% of patients have been seen by a specialist on time.

Orthopaedics has been a star performer recently, after many years of long waits.

In June 2014 there were 2208 patients waiting to see an orthopaedic specialist; 1447 of those were long waits.

At the end of May this year there was a total waiting list of 937, with 235 of those waiting longer than they should.

Outpatients nurse unit manager Christine McPherson was delighted with the latest figures, saying they were the result of a lot of dedication and commitment from the whole team.

By the end of August this year the hospital hopes to have no patient waiting longer than clinical guidelines; and by December this year it's hoped every patient referred to the Orthopaedics Department will be treated in turn and there will be zero wait time.

Other big improvers have been cardiology and elective general surgery.

Emergency action

Rockhampton Hospital is working hard to treat patients quickly and efficiently in its Emergency Department.

Emergency Access Target (NEAT) is a key performance indicator for hospitals around the country, which requires 90% of patients are seen, treated and either admitted to hospital bed or discharged home within four hours.

Latest figures show Rockhampton Hospital is sitting at 85.85% for the year to date, and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service as a whole is on 87.44%.

Rockhampton Hospital Emergency Department director Dr Mark Edwards was proud of the result, which was a big improvement on the 68.5% figure posted in June 2014.



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