A report by the Bureau of Health Information shows things are improving in the emergency departments of the region's major hospitals.

The latest snapshot shows emergency and elective surgery waiting times have improved in the majority of hospitals during the last quarter.

The New South Wales Health minister says the state is on track to meet national hospital performance benchmarks.

The Minister Jillian Skinner says she's confident of reaching the national 71 per cent benchmark by the end of the year which will trigger extra federal funding.

"We do know that we will get the money for this target if we reach it by the end of this year because that's signed up in the forward works," Ms Skinner said.

The head of the local health district says new figures for north coast hospitals are encouraging.

The national benchmark for emergency department responses is based on patients seen within the recommended 4 hour time period.

The Tweed Hospital meets the national target exactly - its percentage of 71 up 9 points from the previous year.

Lismore falls short with 54 per cent, Grafton is on 63 per cent, Ballina's ED 75 per cent.

Casino performed very well with 91 per cent of patients seen in the 4 hours and at Maclean that figure was 80 per cent.

Chris Crawford from the Northern NSW Health District said changes at Grafton will improve the emergency response there.

"At Grafton we are introducing what we call a two stream model where the less urgent patients are treated in a separate stream to the more urgent patients so if you have a minor injury you are not waiting behind people who have got really major injuries," Mr Crawford said.

Mr Crawford said elective surgery times have also improved.

"With the category one, the most urgent types which have to be treated within 30 days, we are close to 100 per cent which is great news for patients who need that urgent surgery," Mr Crawford said.

"The category two, which has to be treated within 3 months, the target there is 93 per cent and we are at 97 per cent," he said.

The non-urgent category of elective surgery target is 95 per cent to be treated within 12 months and the health district overall is at 98 per cent.