PDH Records Upsurge In Patient Numbers

Thursday, 21 September 2017
More local people are turning to Portland District Health for their care, with numbers during August reaching at least a six-year high.

There were 496 inpatients discharged from PDH during August, more than 100 ahead of the same month in the previous two years. This was the highest monthly number in at least six years.

Growth in orthopaedic surgery and general hospital admissions for flu and respiratory infections contributed to the increase.

There were 604 presentations to PDH's Urgent Care Centre during August. The number of babies being born in Portland also continues to grow, with 11 births during August.

CEO Chris Giles said there had been a gradual increase in numbers using PDH over the year, which helps the health service to meet its performance targets and to continue providing services to the local community.

During the past financial year and the first two months of this year we’ve been very strong in meeting our targets, Ms Giles said.

We see this as a reflection of growing community confidence in PDH and also as a result of improvements made to the range of services being offered, such as the focus on strengthening orthopaedic surgery, she said.

We continue to evaluate what the community needs and will look carefully at what other services could be introduced.

Ms Giles said it was good for the community if funds allocated to PDH weren't recalled by the government when patient targets weren't met.

We'd prefer to spend that allocated money to provide services for our community,” she said.

Ms Giles said more patients were also good for maintaining and growing the skills of PDH's clinical staff. However, she added that PDH had suffered a lot of sick leave due to flu and respiratory illness. Our senior staff managed well to use our external casual bank to fill positions and continue providing safe and appropriate care.

The influx of patients has put pressure on medical staff at PDH and GP clinics in Portland.

We recognise it has been hard to get appointments at the PDH specialist centre and we are working hard to recruit more doctors, Ms Giles said. Dr Sagarika Jayathilake, Physician has started with PDH and we are attempting to recruit a locum to cover extra shifts.

Our numbers have gone up and we need to respond to that.

PDH has conducted an `It's Ok to Ask' campaign designed to encourage local people to use their local health service wherever possible.

About 80 per cent of inpatients at PDH are from the Glenelg Shire while people from outside the region often travel to Portland, especially to access shorter orthopaedic surgery waiting times.

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