SWAH emergency department outshines the rest

THE EMERGENCY Department (ED) at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) performed better than all other emergency departments in the north last year in terms of waiting times. 
Figure published last week by the Department of Health showed that from January to March this year, a total of 87.5 percent of patients treated were treated within the Department of Health’s four hour performance target at hospital’s emergency department last year, compared to 75.4 percent on the same period last year. This compares to just 61.6 percent at the Royal Victoria Hospital, for example, and is well about the North’s average of 70.2 percent. 
The improvement in SWAH’s performance may be down to a reduction in the number of patients presenting for treatment, which was down from 2,991 to 2,756 over the same period. 
As for the number of patients waiting for more than four hours in the ED, to be either treated and discharged or admitted to hospital, SWAH performed second best at 12.5 percent. Only Downe Hospital did better at 9.4 percent. 
With regard triage, the system a hospital uses to determine which patients should be prioritised based on medical need on a scale of 1-5, a total of 70.7 percent of patients were identified as being in the most serious 1-3 levels, while 29.3 were categorised as being level 4-5. 
Here again SWAH outshone other hospitals, with a total of 94.3 percent of patients being treated within two hours of triage being completed, up from 92.3 percent last year. This compares to 68.1 percent at Craigavon Area Hospital and 70.3 percent at the Royal Victoria, for example, and is again above the North’s average of 82.3 percent. 
The median time from triage to the start of treatment at SWAH was 27 minutes, faster than all other EDs and, yet again, well above the NI average of 41 minutes. 
Patients at SWAH also had the shortest total time spend in the ED for those admitted to hospital, with a median of three hours, 28 minutes compared to the North’s average median of five hours, 18 minutes. 
For those who were discharged, the median time spent at SWAH’s emergency department was two hours, 21 minutes which was actually slightly longer than the North’s average of two hours, three minutes. 

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