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released: 30 Nov 2011 author: AIHW media release

'Australian hospital statistics 2010-11: emergency department care and elective surgery waiting times' presents information relating to emergency department care in major public hospitals and public hospital elective surgery waiting times for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. In 2010-11: over 6.2 million emergency department presentations were provided by major public hospitals, with 70% of patients receiving treatment within an appropriate time for their urgency (triage category); about 621,000 patients were admitted to Australian public hospitals from waiting lists for elective surgery, with 50% of patients admitted within 36 days. Data on emergency department waiting times for the ACT have been corrected and resupplied to the AIHW for the period 2008–09 to 2010–11. Chapter 2 tables have been revised to reflect these correction and are available in the Excel tables that accompany this report.

ISSN 1036-613X; ISBN 978-1-74249-262-9; Cat. no. HSE 115; 88pp.; Internet only

Summary

This report presents information relating to emergency department care in selected public hospitals and public hospital elective surgery waiting times for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. Corresponding information for individual public hospitals is available on the MyHospitals website at www.myhospitals.gov.au.

Emergency department care

Almost 6.2 million emergency department presentations were reported by selected public hospitals in 2010–11, with an increase of 4.0% on average each year between 2006–07 and 2010–11. Between 2009–10 and 2010–11, emergency department presentations increased in all states and territories, with increases ranging from 1.6% in Tasmania to 8.1% in Western Australia.

Overall in 2010–11, treatment by a medical officer or nurse commenced within 23 minutes of a patient presenting to the emergency department for 50% of patients and within 114 minutes of presentation for 90% of patients.

Since 2006–07, the overall proportion of patients seen on time in Principal referral and specialist women’s and children’s hospitals and Large hospitals has been about 68% each year. For 2010–11, 100% of resuscitation patients (those requiring treatment immediately) and 79% of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes) were seen on time. The proportion seen on time varied across the states and territories, from 52% in the Northern Territory, to 74% in New South Wales.

About 4% of emergency department presentations in Principal referral and specialist women’s and children’s hospitals and Large hospitals were for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. About 66% of Indigenous Australians were seen on time, compared with 69% for other Australians.

Elective surgery waiting times

In 2010–11, Australia‘s public hospitals admitted about 621,000 patients from elective surgery waiting lists.

Between 2006–07 and 2010–11, admissions from elective surgery waiting lists increased by an average of 2.8% per year. They increased in all states and territories, with increases ranging from 0.7% per year in New South Wales to 7.2% per year in Western Australia.

In 2010–11, 50% of patients waited up to 36 days for public elective surgery, increasing from 32 days in 2006–07 and 35 days in 2009–10. The median waiting time ranged from 29 days in Queensland and Western Australia to 76 days in the Australian Capital Territory. Between 2006–07 and 2010–11, the proportion of patients who waited more than a year to be admitted for their surgery decreased from 3.1% to 2.9%.

The median waiting time for Indigenous Australians was higher than for other Australians (39 and 36 days, respectively), and a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians waited greater than 365 days (3.3%) compared with other Australians (2.9%).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2011. Australian hospital statistics 2010-2011: emergency department care and elective surgery waiting times. Health services series no. 41. Cat. no. HSE 115. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 17 September 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737420662>.