Improved health care in the North and North East

7 June 2017

One year after health services in the North of Adelaide were realigned, residents in the North and North East are spending five hours less in hospital and getting faster access to elective surgery, latest data shows. 

Despite 3450 more presentations to the Lyell McEwin Hospital since the realignments started in March 2017, patients are also spending 19 minutes less time waiting to be treated in the Emergency Department than they did the year before the health reforms.

Modbury Hospital continues to see more than a 100 patients per day at its Emergency Department; there has been a 46 percent increase in day surgeries performed and in recent months there have been 60 percent fewer overdue
elective surgeries.

NALHN Chief Executive Officer Jackie Hanson said that a year after the changes, more people living in the North were being treated in the North.

“In March 2016 we implemented a number of important changes to the services our two hospitals in the North provide,” Ms Hanson said.

“Population growth and an increase in demand for services in Adelaide’s North led to the refocus of the Lyell McEwin Hospital as a major hospital in the region, with the Modbury Hospital as the hub for extended day surgery and rehabilitation services.

“To support these changes we have built new infrastructure and moved more specialist health services to the region, so people in Adelaide’s North and North East can benefit from improved care closer to home.

“What we can see from the latest data is that despite increased presentations, people are spending less time waiting to be treated in the Lyell McEwin Emergency Department and less time in our hospitals.

“This means they are getting home to their families sooner and our hospitals are able to see more people from the North than ever before.

“It is very encouraging to see these improvements to patient outcomes and overall efficiency across our health services and I want to thank our staff for all the work they have done over more than a year to improve how we deliver care to our communities.”

Director of Anaesthetics at Lyell McEwin Hospital Doctor Simon Jenkins said access to elective surgery had significantly expanded across NALHN.

“Improving how we run elective surgery means that patients spend less time in hospital, and this allows us to complete more procedures for more people,” Dr Jenkins said.

“This means patients will have shorter waiting times and the Emergency Department and inpatients wards can work more efficiently.”

Ms Hanson said there has been a significant investment in Modbury Hospital to upgrade facilities, making it a hub for rehabilitation, sub-acute services and a centre for elective 23 hour and same-day surgery in the region, whilst
maintaining its 24 hour a day, seven days a week Emergency Department.

“These investments, and the work of our skilled and dedicated staff, has enabled more services than ever before to be provided locally, and for North and North Eastern residents to continue to access high quality care into the future,” Ms Hanson said.

The first wave of specialist services moved North in October last year including orthopaedics, renal and vascular.

More recently stroke services were expanded and medical oncology, cardiology, ENT, urology, breast endocrine; upper GI, haematology and rehabilitation services will be transferred in the coming months.

The installation of a second CT scanner at the Lyell McEwin Hospital is enabling more patients to have scans and eliminating the outpatient waiting list for scans.

The purchase of a second cardiac catheter laboratory is providing more patients with access to interventional cardiology services.

For the first time, other radiological interventions such as catheter insertions for medication administration, organ biopsy and non-cardiology vascular imaging can be performed at the Lyell McEwin Hospital thanks to the multi-disciplinary nature of the new cath lab.

The introduction of 24-hour orthopaedic coverage at Lyell McEwin Hospital is also resulting in reduced wait times from Emergency Department presentation to operation, and more people being seen locally for orthopaedic surgery.

One year on