Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data from October to December show only half of patients presenting to Wollongong Hospital are leaving within four hours. 

The number of patients waiting for elective surgery in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District also increased to 6,797.  Only 78% of patients underwent surgery on time compared to 84% the previous quarter. Of significant concern, the result for Shoalhaven Hospital patients showed only 61% of their treatment started on time.

A decade of neglect and under-resourcing has left hundreds of local patients waiting in pain for longer than clinically recommended for life-changing surgery.

The Ambulance service is also under enormous strain. The number of calls increased to 6,195. Emergency cases are classified as priority 1 (P1) by NSW Ambulance and require an immediate response under lights and siren. In Wollongong, only 49.2% of P1 calls arrived within 15 minutes.

The Member for Keira and Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said the Government can’t hide behind the impact of COVID-19 anymore.

“These figures are proof we have a healthcare system that is under continued pressure. From Wollongong to Shellharbour and the Shoalhaven, all three major hospitals in the Illawarra continue to show they are under resourced and struggling to cope with increased demand.

“Our frontline healthcare workers do such an incredible job particularly with the challenges they have faced over the last few years. But they need the Government to listen to them because we cannot expect them to continue to work with ongoing staff shortages especially as we begin preparations for what could be another challenging winter period.

“We need urgent action to address this crisis, there must be no excuses and no delays.

“Patients across the Illawarra are waiting longer for an ambulance, longer in the emergency department and longer for elective surgery. People are being left behind, in pain because of this Government’s mismanagement” Mr Park said.