Muswellbrook and Singleton hospitals rated two of the best in Hunter New England Local Health District, according to latest BHI Healthcare Quarterly Activity and Performance Report

MUSWELLBROOK District and neighbouring Singleton District hospitals are rated two of the best in the region, according to the latest BHI Healthcare Quarterly Activity and Performance Report for April-June.

In fact, most Hunter New England medical facilities performed very well in the 2019 findings.

HNELHD chief executive Michael DiRienzo said nearly 99 per cent of all 7774 elective surgeries were performed on time across the district.

"Of our 15 hospitals captured in the BHI report, nine ranked perfectly for performing elective surgeries on time, which is pleasing to see," he explained.

"On top of this, 100 per cent of all urgent elective surgeries across the district were performed on time.

"This performance across all surgery categories exceeded the state average."

The best performing hospitals include Belmont, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Manning, Gunnedah, Inverell, Moree, Singleton, Narrabri and Muswellbrook, where 100 per cent of all elective surgeries were performed on time.

"We continue to ensure more patients receive their surgery sooner by working closely with surgeons and facilities with greater capacity and shorter waiting times," Mr DiRienzo said.

He added the district was also working hard to improve the patient experience through reductions in emergency department (ED) waiting times.

"Our EDs saw 106,923 patients from April to June 2019, over 5000 more, or a 5.2 per cent increase on the same period last year, with almost three quarters of those patients being seen within the recommended timeframes," Mr DiRienzo said.

"More than 78,000 patients, or 73 per cent, also left the ED within the benchmark of four hours, with the average time in the ED being two-and-a-half hours."

Gunnedah Hospital performed well with 86 per cent of patients leaving the ED within four hours despite a significant 18.5 per cent increase in presentations, up 363 to 2322.

"These improvements at Gunnedah Hospital are the result of initiatives to provide more training for staff and the streamlining of triage and assessment processes," Mr DiRienzo said.

Kurri Kurri Hospital continued to provide timely care to patients, with almost 94 per cent of patients starting their treatment on time, and 94 per cent also leaving the ED within four hours.

Mr DiRienzo acknowledged the hard-working staff who were instrumental in embedding a range of strategies to deliver this high level of service.

"Our highly-trained nursing staff monitor ED waiting rooms to ensure patients are starting treatment as quickly as possible," he said.

"In addition, clinical initiatives nurses monitor and assess patients in the waiting room and, if appropriate, commence simple treatments on patients while they wait.

"We have also reviewed rosters to ensure more doctors are available during peak periods, and have further increased the number of senior doctors working in the ED at John Hunter and Maitland hospitals."

The district continues to perform above and beyond the state average in transfer of care, with over 90 per cent of patients transferred from an Ambulance to the ED within the 30-minute benchmark.

Tamworth Hospital ED is also performing well, with 91.6 per cent of patients transferred from the ambulance to the ED within 30 minutes, despite a significant 20.3 per cent increase in ambulance arrivals, up 390 to 2,308 total.

The 2019-20 budget for Hunter New England Local Health District is nearly $2.4 billion - an increase of almost $72 million on the 2018-19 budget.