FRANKSTON Hospital has been revealed as among the state’s worst-performing emergency departments, failing to meet the majority of targets set by the state government for timely treatment of patients.
Victorian hospital annual reports tabled recently in state parliament show nearly all emergency departments struggled to transfer patients from ambulances within specified time frames over the past financial year.
Frankston Hospital, which is operated by Peninsula Health, was able to transfer patients from ambulances within the required 40-minute time frame just 56 per cent of the time – well short of the target of 90 per cent set by the state government.
This was a key cause of ambulances “ramping” at hospitals and was undermining Ambulance Victoria’s ability to respond to new cases.
Ambulance Victoria data shows ambulance response times have gone backward for the third year in a row, with 27 per cent of life-threating emergencies not responded to within 15 minutes and nearly a quarter of ambulance transfers to hospitals taking longer than 40 minutes.
The performance data for the hospital also showed that only 49 per cent of emergency patients were able to leave with four hours, despite a target of 75 per cent, while just 54 per cent of category 2 elective surgery patients were treated within 90 days, well short of the target.
However, Rosebud Hosptial, also operated by Peninsula Health, performed far better, meeting or exceeding most of the treatment targets.
Labor MP Jude Perera said the reports showed patients were suffering at hospitals across the state as they were forced to wait longer for ambulances to arrive as well as emergency care and elective surgery.
Mr Perera, whose electorate takes in a large portion of Frankston City, said the Napthine government had “lost control” of the health system and accused Frankston independent MP Geoff Shaw of “sitting on his hands and doing nothing” to remedy the situation.
“These documents prove what doctors, nurses and paramedics have been saying for a long time now – that our health system has never been as bad as it is now.
“The state’s health system is struggling to cope and is starved of resources due to $826 million in Napthine government cuts,” Mr Perera said.
“These reports show the government is failing everywhere – in our clogged emergency departments, in providing elective surgery, and through the performance of our ambulance system.
“Frankston Hospital is feeling the pressure too, failing on nearly all of its key indicators.”
The state Labor Opposition also accused the Napthine government of preventing the release of data detailing falling ambulance response times.
Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Wade Noonan, said Opposition request to access the data had been denied for the reasons that the data would “undermine public confidence in the ambulance service” and cause a “downturn in Ambulance Victoria memberships”.
The letter outlining the rejection of Labor’s request also stated that the information could cause a “public controversy”, and could be used in the current EBA dispute with the ambulance union.
“This action by Ambulance Victoria strikes at the heart of the integrity of the Freedom of Information regime in Victoria,” Mr Noonan said.
The Peninsula Health annual report was among dozens of major metropolitan hospital, Department of Health and Ambulance Victoria annual reports to be tabled before parliament on the last day allowable under reporting requirements in a move labelled as a “cynical dump” by the Opposition.