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Emergency department wait times drop dramatically

The Bermuda Hospitals Board notes a shorter average waiting time for emergency department patients to get a bed at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Average waiting times for an inpatient bed after admission to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s emergency department were lower during the latest two-week reporting period than during the previous reporting period, figures showed.

The most recent available KEMH Performance Data Snapshot covered July 31 to August 13.

A Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman said: “KEMH experienced a busier time in the emergency department due to the Cup Match public holidays, with visits rising from 1,281 to 1,358 — 77 visits, or 6 per cent — though admissions dropped by 14 to 168 in this report from 182 in the two weeks prior.

“The average daily wait for an inpatient bed following the decision to admit dropped by over six hours to 11 hours and seven minutes in the latest two weeks, compared to 18 hours and 42 minutes in the two weeks prior.

“The range of wait times for an inpatient bed was from three to 21 hours, compared to four to 32 hours in the prior period.”

She explained: “The wait for an inpatient bed for someone coming into emergency is not just impacted by the number of admissions, but varies depending on delays in discharging patients who no longer need hospital care.”

The BHB spokeswoman said that an increase in visits to the emergency department did not affect the two-week average length of time from arrival to triage, which was the same as the previous snapshot period at 14 minutes.

There was a slight increase in the average time it took to see a doctor, up to 66 minutes from 59 minutes.

The spokeswoman said: “There was a marginally longer average length of stay in the emergency department — from arrival to departure of the emergency department for all patients — of three hours and 39 minutes, compared to three hours and 21 minutes.”

She added: “It should be stressed that these are average times for all patients, including those with minor illnesses and injuries.

“People who come in with serious conditions are seen immediately.

“This is especially important for illnesses such as stroke, where attending the emergency department immediately can ensure time-sensitive treatments can be given that can make the difference between a full recovery and disability or death.

“The community is reminded to use the BE FAST acronym and if they experience issues with balance, eyes — vision, face, arms or speech, it’s time to go to the emergency department. Don’t wait.”

The spokeswoman pointed out that the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre opened for the duration of the Annual Classic on August 3 and 4, as well as its usual weekend hours of 9am to 9pm.

She said: “The UCC service can treat people with minor illnesses and injuries.

“Ten patients attended the UCC on Thursday and Friday — 20 in total.

“There were 30 visits in total on the Saturday and Sunday of Cup Match, with 29 visits the following weekend.

“Finally, the two public holidays reduced the number of elective outpatient appointments and surgeries.

“There were 2,334 outpatient visits in the two weeks reported, compared to 3,130 in the two weeks prior, and 262 surgeries compared to 328.”

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Published August 29, 2023 at 7:53 am (Updated August 29, 2023 at 8:17 am)

Emergency department wait times drop dramatically

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