Public hospital emergency departments are experiencing an increase in patient numbers, according to the latest independent review.
Released by the Bureau of Health Information today (March 15), the Hospital Quarterly report analyses state-wide information regarding admitted patients, emergency departments and elective surgery for public hospitals.
According to Bureau acting chief executive Kim Browne, more than 538,000 patients attended emergency departments in NSW between October and December 2011.
"This is 3,300 more than the same time in 2010," she explained.
"Every year we see a gradual increase in the number of visits to emergency departments."
The total number of elective surgery procedures performed also increased, rising to more than 51,400.
The report also found that one in 20 patients spent longer than 19 and a half hours in NSW public emergency departments during the three month period.
Shorter waiting times – as well as other benefits such as a choice of doctor – may be available to NSW residents with private health insurance.
State health targets require 90 per cent of public patients to be accepted within 30 minutes of arrival.