February 27, 2019

Record patient numbers in Northern Hospital Emergency Department history

Last week, Northern Hospital’s Emergency Department experienced the highest demand in its recorded history. This culminated on Monday, 25 February, when the department saw the highest number of patient presentations to date – caring for 343 patients in just one day.

From Monday, 18 February through to Sunday, 24 February, the Emergency Department experienced a record average of 307 presentations a day.

During that time, the team met the ‘ambulance offload’ time, which is a fantastic achievement for Northern Health, and makes us one of the best performing hospitals in ambulance offload rates.

Cindy Joffe, Divisional Director, said the department performed very well during this time.

“This means the majority of our patients were seen in a timely manner, and placed in the right bed at the right time,” she explained.

Reflecting on Monday, Cindy added that all patients were treated safely, and feels very proud of the team that pulled together and worked very hard to ensure there were no clinical incidents. The category 1 and 2 patients, who are classified as the sickest patients, were seen in the correct time.

“We started Monday with the usual amount of staff, and as we noticed the demand was increasing more than usual, we called on more staff to come in. We followed all the escalation procedures to make sure we could continue safely into the night,” she said.

Nurses were placed in the waiting room to ensure all the patients received appropriate care and attention.

“We have an excellent relationship with Ambulance Victoria and we talked about the possible causes of the patient increase. There actually wasn’t one specific cause that initiated this number of patients. The increased volume of patients was present on the same day at other hospitals as well,” she said.

Dean Pritchard, Acting Director of Emergency Department, expressed his appreciation for staff who worked these record days.

“A huge thank you to our medical, nursing, support and operational staff for their support over the past week. The combined efforts of the Emergency Department, access team and inpatient units allowed over 2,100 patients to be treated in a timely fashion,” he said.

Chief Operating Officer, Jane Poxon, said, “I’m proud of the way staff have responded to the large numbers of patients arriving at the Northern Hospital Emergency Department.

“Last week was certainly a testament to the dedication and collaboration of our Northern Health team.”