Improved ambulance transfer times 'selective'

IMPROVED ambulance transfer times at Warrnambool Base Hospital have been trumpeted by the state’s health minister.

The south-west’s largest hospital recorded a near-perfect score with 99.3 per cent of transfers completed within the optimum time of 40 minutes — far higher than the 90 per cent state benchmark.

Hamilton Base Hospital went even better, with a transfer rate of 99.7 per cent during the same December 2013 quarter.

Health Minister David Davis said the data was clear proof the recommendations of the state’s Ambulance Transfer Taskforce were being successfully implemented.

But the state opposition has claimed Mr Davis has only selectively released data, holding back unfavourable figures while promoting only areas where progress has been made.

Latest figures from the Health Services Performance data also show Warrnambool Base Hospital admitted 3868 patients in the last quarter of 2013, up from 3771 admissions in the same period in 2012.

During the same surveyed period, 1187 emergency patients were admitted at the site — an extra 62 admissions.

One of the biggest statistical jumps for Warrnambool Base Hospital was in neonatal intensive care, with 60 special care nursery babies delivered or cared for in the December 2013 quarter compared to 32 infants a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Mr Davis revealed Hamilton Base Hospital admitted 1847 patients in the last quarter of 2013, up from 1632 admissions in the same period a year earlier.

The Western District Health Service site also admitted 550 emergency patients during the same survey period, up from 428 emergency admissions a year earlier.

Opposition health spokesman Gavin Jennings said the information released was selective, only highlighting statistical information which showed positive change and ignoring unfavourable data.

“David Davis has given up on a first-rate public health system. He’s now running a second-rate public relations spin machine,” Mr Jennings said.

“Mr Davis is taking the public for fools, selectively releasing only parts of hospital data and burying all the bad news.”

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