NSW Health records busiest ever quarter amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Picture: Simon Bennett

Picture: Simon Bennett

NSW Health has recorded it's busiest ever quarter in emergency department presentations, elective surgeries performed, ambulance responses and babies born

The news came as the state's health system recovered from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with just the first week of the current outbreak recorded in this quarter.

NSW Health deputy secretary of patient experience and system performance, Wayne Jones said figures from April to June 2021 were not unexpected and confirmed the significant pressure associated with preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the busy quarter represented a 'period of recovery in the NSW Health system'.

"The April-June 2021 reporting period demonstrates the resilience of the NSW Health system and, in particular, our extraordinary staff," Mr Jones said.

"In this period, the system bounced back from the impacts of the first wave of COVID-19 and, in particular, the national halt of elective surgery in 2020.

"Through this period, our emergency departments were the busiest they have ever been, with a record 806,728 attendances to emergency departments at NSW public hospitals."

This represents an increase of 52,267 (6.9 per cent) compared to the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic began.

NSW Health hospital staff also performed 64,599 elective surgeries duting this quarter - an increase of 5,330 (9 per cent) compared to the same quarter in 2019, and the highest number ever recorded in the April-June quarter.

"With the help of our private hospital partners, we also reduced the number of people on the elective surgery waiting list at the end of last quarter by over 15 per cent (from 101,024 to 85,296)," Mr Jones said.

"We were able to catch up surgeries which were delayed last year and this has put us in a much better position with the current restriction on elective surgeries in NSW as we battle the current COVID-19 outbreak."

Data also revealed almost nine in 10 elective surgeries (89.3 per cent) were performed on time this quarter.

On-time performance for non-urgent surgery also improved to 84.3 per cent, while almost all urgent surgeries (99.7 per cent) continued to be performed on time.

The quarter also saw a large growth in the number of babies born, with a boom corresponding with the height of the pandemic in NSW in 2020.

Between April and June 2021, 19,113 babies were born in NSW public hospitals, the highest number since BHI reporting began.

The birth numbers also represent a significant upswing compared with the declining birth rate over the last 10 years.

This story NSW Health records busiest ever quarter amidst COVID-19 outbreak first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.