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Health News

Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

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Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

Patients have rated Northern NSW Emergency Departments (EDs) among the best in NSW, according to the latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report which surveyed 77 of the bigger public hospitals across the state.
Results from the 2019-20 Emergency Department Patient Survey released today show that patients attending Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) EDs continue to report high levels of satisfaction with their experience, health staff and facilities.
Most patients, 78 per cent, in the District reported being triaged within 15 minutes of arriving, the highest in the state.

The overall ratings of care by patients in the District were among the highest in the state, with 91 per cent of surveyed patients rating their care as ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
Patients rated ED staff highly with 93 per cent of patients rating the treatment provided by the ED health professionals as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
NNSWLHD Emergency Departments also recorded high scores when it came to cleanliness, with 82 per cent of respondents saying the treatment area was ‘very clean’, the highest result in NSW for the second consecutive year. Byron Central Hospital recorded the highest rating of all NSW public hospitals for cleanliness with a 95 per cent result.

NNSWLHD Director of Clinical Operations, Lynne Weir, said the survey period included the emergence of COVID-19 in NSW in early 2020 which resulted in significant changes to the way health services were delivered.
“I want to commend our staff who continued to deliver outstanding results for our patients during a very challenging time for health services around the world,” Ms Weir said.
“It takes a dedicated team to deliver the quality experiences and outcomes our patients and the community expect, and these results are indicative of our commitment to patient care and to continuous improvement.
“For the second consecutive year, we achieved some of the best triage responses in the state and, importantly, we also rate among the top health districts for patient care measures.
“For example, our hospitals recorded excellent results when it came to asking patients if they felt they were able to get assistance or advice from ED staff for their personal needs, and 84 per cent said health staff ‘always’ explained things in a way patients could understand.”

A number of hospitals delivered improved results when compared with the previous year, with Ballina District Hospital in particular achieving significant improvements in 26 survey measures, including 99 per cent of surveyed patients reporting that they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them.

“These surveys are essential sources of information to help us identify gaps and develop plans to improve patient experiences at our hospitals,” Ms Weir said.
Between mid-2012 and mid-2020 the Northern NSW Local Health District increased its workforce by an additional 1008 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 26.7 per cent – including 171 more doctors, 367 more nurses and midwives, and 121 more allied health staff.

The 2020-21 budget for Northern NSW Local Health District was more than $926 million – an increase of almost $39 million, or 4.4 per cent, on the 2019-20 budget.
The record 2020-21 NSW Health statewide budget of $29.3 billion includes $30 million for additional emergency department attendances and ambulance calls and $14.5 million to recruit more temporary security staff and more patient experience officers to improve patients’ experiences in our public hospitals.

INDIVIDUAL HOSPITAL RESULTS
BALLINA DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The majority, 93 per cent, of surveyed patients rated their overall care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Nearly all patients, 99 per cent, said they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them, the highest in the state. The vast majority of those surveyed, 94 per cent, said ED health professionals were always kind and caring and 84 per cent said they were ‘definitely’ involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
BYRON CENTRAL HOSPITAL: Nearly all surveyed patients, 95 per cent, said the ED was ‘very clean’, the highest rating in the state. More than 85 per cent of patients said they were triaged within 15 minutes and the majority, 80 per cent, said they would speak highly of their experience in ED to friends and family. In addition, 92 per cent rated their overall care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and 85 per cent said the staff were always kind and caring.
CASINO & DISTRICT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: The vast majority, 94 per cent, of surveyed patients said ED staff were ‘always’ polite and courteous and 87 per cent of patients said they were triaged with 15 minutes. More than 90 per cent of surveyed patients said ED health professionals ‘always’ explained things in a way they could understand and 98 per cent said their overall care was ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
GRAFTON BASE HOSPITAL: More than 85 per cent of surveyed patients said staff were ‘always’ kind and caring and the majority, 76 per cent, would ‘speak highly’ of their ED experience to family and friends.
LISMORE BASE HOSPITAL: Overall, 87 per cent rated the care they received as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Nearly all patients, 97 per cent, said they felt the purpose of medication was explained in a way they could understand by ED staff and the majority, 78 per cent, reported that staff were kind and caring.
MACLEAN DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The majority of surveyed patients, 91 per cent, rated their care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The vast majority, 92 per cent, said they felt treated with respect and dignity while in ED.
MURWILLUMBAH DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The vast majority of patients, 93 per cent, said ED staff explained things in a way they could understand and 88 per cent said they were triaged within 15 minutes. The majority, 84 per cent, said they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them and 95 per cent rated their overall care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. In addition, 93 per cent of respondents said the ED treatment area was ‘very clean’.
THE TWEED HOSPITAL: Overall, 90 per cent rated their care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The majority, 85 per cent, said they felt treated with respect and dignity and 78 per cent said they were triaged within 15 minutes.
The survey is available on the BHI website.

Health News

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

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Epilepsy Queensland

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

The Get Seizure Smart campaign asks the questions – would you recognise if someone was having a seizure? Would you know what to do to help?

Chris Dougherty, Epilepsy Queensland Chief Executive says, “seizures are more common than many realise and don’t always look like what you might expect. 1 in 10 people will have a seizure and 50% of people that have one seizure will go on to have more. Being seizure smart is an important skill for everyone.”

Epilepsy Queensland has been supporting Queenslanders to live well with epilepsy for over 50 years and this September their Get Seizure Smart campaign educates the public to recognise seizures and respond with appropriate seizure first aid. Doing so can provide comfort, prevent injury, and even save a life!

“The signs of a seizure are not always easy to spot and can be overlooked or mistaken for something else,” explains Epilepsy Educator, Jenny Ritchie. “Not all seizures are convulsive (shaking- falling). Seizures may include subtle eye movements, changes in cognitive ability, lapses in attention or other unusual behaviours.”

After you recognise a seizure, the next step is to be Seizure Smart and know how to respond with seizure first aid.
TIME the seizure. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call an ambulance.

If it is the first time the person has experienced a seizure, you should seek medical assistance.
STAY with the person until they are alert or help arrives.
Stay calm and PROTECT the person from injury.
“This could mean moving things like hot drinks or furniture and protecting their head with something small and soft,” instructs Jenny Ritchie, who has been teaching seizure first aid to Queenslanders for almost 15 years.
Visit the Epilepsy Queensland website to Get Seizure Smart, download the free Seizure First Aid and Signs of a Seizure flyers at www.epilepsyqueensland.com.au or https://bit.ly/GetSeizureSmart
Not all seizures require emergency medical attention, but they can be life threatening; almost every day an Australian life is lost due to epilepsy.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

A second man has been charged with breaching public health orders when he left Sydney to come to the Northern Rivers.
As a result, four local government areas, including the Ballina Shire, the Byron Shire, Lismore and Richmond Valley were all thrown into lockdown.
It is understand the second man is the 19-year-old son of the 52-year-old man who has also been charged for breaching public health orders.
The older man is currently in Lismore Base Hospital with Covid.

Officers from Richmond and Tweed/Byron Police Districts commenced an investigation after receiving reports a man and family members had travelled to Northern NSW in late July.

Following further extensive inquiries last week, Tweed/Byron PD officers issued the 19-year-old man with a Court Attendance Notice for four offences, including:
• fail to comply with noticed direction re section 7/8/9 – COVID-19 – individual
• fail to comply with electronic registration directive – individual (two counts), and
• not wear fitted face covering in public transport/taxi

Police will allege the 19-year-old Rose Bay man travelled from Sydney to the Byron Bay area in company of the 52-year-old Rose Bay man.
He is due to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on Monday 27 September 2021.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

By Tim Howard

A surge in COVID-19 tests on the NSW North Coast has not uncovered any new cases of the disease so far say a health authorities.
News a Sydney man had been at large on the North Coast for nearly two weeks sent a surge of Grafton residents into the fever clinic testing clinic set up at the Grafton Base Hospital.
Some people waited for more than an two hours for their test and were told they would have at least another 24 hours to wait before they received a result.
Northern NSW Local Health District acting CEO Lynne Weir said authorities were aware of new venues of concern and would release updated information for close-contact venues in the region.
She said anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed was a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Covid Test Grafton

People lined up for hours to get a COVID-19 test at the fever clinic at Grafton Base Hospital, following the revelation a 52-year-old Sydney man had been infectious on the North Coast for more than a week.

Ms Weir said NSW Health sent a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information.
“We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements,” she said.
“If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.
“If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
Ms Weir said NSW Health did not disclose details about venues of concern unless there was a public health reason.
When a confirmed COVID-19 case attended a venue while possibly infectious, NSW Health carried out a risk assessment on that venue to determine whether other people might have been exposed, and whether there is a public health risk.
Ms Weir said all people diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate to ensure there was no ongoing risk of infection to others in the community.
Close contacts are asked to get tested, and complete 14 days’ self-isolation, even if their initial test result is negative.
“It remains vital that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close or casual contact of a person with COVID-19, isolates and is tested immediately,” she said.
“When testing clinics are busy, please ensure you stay in line, identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms or are a contact of a case.”
Ms Weir thanked the many people in the community who came forward for testing in the past few days.
On Tuesday, August 10, more than 3000 tests were conducted at NSW Health and drive through clinics across the district, with many more conducted at other GP and respiratory clinics in the region.
She said there had been high sustained high testing rates in recent weeks, with 9,177 tests conducted among NNSWLHD residents in the first week of August.
All the local testing clinics and their opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and- others/clinics or, you can also contact your GP.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result. NSW Health sends a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information. We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements. If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.

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