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02 Aug 2018

The San waives EC admission fees for ambulance patients

Quick admission to an emergency care unit can be the difference between life, quality of life, and death, according to San Director of Emergency Care Dr Greg McDonald.

As a result, the Hospital is now waiving its $335 admission fee for patients unwell enough to be bought into the Hospital by ambulance.

“We recognise that patients bought in by ambulance to an Emergency Care Unit are the ones most likely to need the most urgent attention. Any indecision, hesitation, or uncertainty, can lead to delays in assessment and treatment that make a difference….so we’re removing that concern by waiving the fee for them.

We want them to get here and get the best care they can, as quickly as they can.

With stroke patients for example we know that in 25% of cases quick access to clot busting treatments can mean the difference between significant recovery and long term disability.

Sadly however, of that 25% of stroke patients, only about 10% receive emergency treatment in time.

Similarly, we know that most heart attack victims die before reaching hospital yet quick access to emergency care could change the outcomes, or even save their lives.”

Pressure on EC units grows during winter with both private hospitals like the San and other local public hospitals faced with potential increased admissions because of influenza.

“Rightly or wrongly, after last year’s flu season with over 700 deaths and 770,000 influenza cases Australia-wide, people expect busy emergency units with long waiting times at both public and private hospitals” says Dr McDonald.

With an ageing local population, respiratory issues, heart disease and other illnesses should be treated quickly.

“We are worried that combined with concerns about admission fees this can lead to delays for seriously ill patients coming in. This is why we have waived the fee for patients being admitted by the ambulance.

This is not an invitation for just anyone to come in via ambulance since it’s important that only those in real need of ambulance assistance contact the service but we want to ensure the people who need urgent care, get it as soon as they need it.

This builds on why the San’s EC unit was established over 20 years ago, in response to our ageing and growing local population and recognising there was a community need.

But from my personal perspective … we all became doctors and health professionals because we love being able to use our experience and our technology to change people’s lives. If we can do that quickly, its mission accomplished and everyone goes home smiling.”



Read the Hornsby Advocates article here

Read The Daily Telegraph's article here (subscribers access only)


Images courtesy of Hornsby Advocate


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