Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Delivering a healthy WA - Fast-track for emergency patients helps cut waiting times

    23/03/2005 12:00 AM

    A trial system to fast-track Emergency Department patients at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has helped reduce waiting times and resulted in people being treated and discharged sooner.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said a dedicated Fast Track Room and Rapid Assessment Team (RAT) in the hospital’s emergency department targeted patients waiting with non-life threatening conditions.

    He said the RAT - made up of a physician and senior nurse - assessed whether low-acuity patients could be treated and discharged quickly or needed admitting to a ward.

    “Patients with minor injuries and ailments, who may simply need stitches, bandaging or prescriptions, are treated in the Fast Track Room and then discharged,” Mr McGinty said.

    “So rather than occupying an emergency department bed and waiting hours for treatment, those patients are dealt with quickly.”

    Statistics from the hospital showed that average waiting times for low-acuity patients had fallen significantly since the combined introduction of the Rapid Assessment Team and Fast Track Room in November last year.

    The average waiting time for category five patients had dropped by 55 minutes (from one hour and 45 minutes to 50 minutes) and by 40 minutes for category four patients (from 90 minutes to 50 minutes) when compared to waiting times in 2003.

    Mr McGinty said the hospital also reported an overall reduction in the average length of stay for patients treated and discharged from the emergency department in the same day.

    The average length of stay for discharged patients in the emergency department was now three hours and 6 minutes, down from just over four hours in 2003.

    The Minister also assessed the new helipad designed to accommodate helicopters bringing patients in for treatment at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital or Princess Margaret Hospital.

    The helipad has been upgraded along with the redevelopment of the hospital’s emergency department and can now take the larger rescue helicopters.

    Mr McGinty said FESA’s emergency rescue helicopter transferred patients to SCGH on average once a fortnight, mostly victims of motor vehicle or motorbike accidents.

    The FESA chopper also provided hospital transfers for seriously ill patients in regional areas who required specialist care in a tertiary hospital such as SCGH.

    Minister's office: - 9220 5000