Hospital emergency wait time very low

Cooma Hospital has only received a total of five complaints over a four month period about the long waiting times in the emergency department - that's slightly more than one a month.

Analysing that statistic on a weekly basis, it is less than one quarter of a complaint per week - which is almost meaningless.

In fact, in statistical terms, Cooma Hospital is up there with the best - the National Emergency Access Targets measure emergency department performance with the target of 76 per cent of patients to be seen, treated and discharged (or admitted) within four hours.

Cooma is currently achieving 86 per cent, way above the national target.

But the number of complaints, at five over four months, has prompted Southern NSW Health to issue a public statement explaining the emergency waiting times at Cooma Hospital.

The organisation said that the more urgent your condition the sooner you will be seen.

"If someone in an even more urgent condition arrives, you will find yourself waiting that bit longer. Think twice about coming to the Emergency Department if you could wait to be treated by your family doctor."

The Triage Nurse, the first person a patient sees, is experienced in assessing your condition and will sort out the priority of your care soon after your arrival and may even commence treatment.

The Triage nurse allocates every patient a Triage category. There are five categories and every NSW Hospital uses these categories.

Category 1 Any condition that needs immediate medical treatment such as cardiac arrest resuscitation, serious wound.

Category 2 Patients who need to have treatment within 10 minutes and are categorised as having imminent life-threatening illnesses such as heart attack, stroke or difficulty in breathing.

Category 3 People who need to have treatment within 30 minutes, eg fractures, migraines or any condition that could potentially move to Category 2.

Category 4 People who can wait an hour eg foreign bodies in eye.

Category 5 Patients with minor injuries that could be seen by their local doctor.

Southern NSW Health said that emergency departments were open 24 hours.

"Cooma District Hospital doctors are on call round the clock either from their surgeries or from home. Emergency doctors and nurses are there to treat patients who could get worse if not treated quickly.

"It's quite good news if someone in a stretcher gets pushed ahead of you. It means they are in worse condition than you are," a spokesperson said.

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