Most emergency department patients seen on time

The majority (74%) of emergency department patients are seen 'on time' for their urgency (triage) category, with this proportion ranging from 59% in the Australian Capital Territory to 81% in New South Wales, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Emergency department care 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics, shows that nationally, almost 100% of resuscitation patients (those requiring treatment immediately), 79% of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes), and 92% of non-urgent patients (requiring treatment within 2 hours) were seen on time.

The report also shows that the overall proportion of patients seen on time increased from 70% in 2010-11 to 75% in 2013-14 and decreased to 74% in 2014-15.

'There were about 7.4 million presentations to the 290 public hospital emergency departments that were in the AIHW data collection in 2014-15, or over 20,000 presentations each day,' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, after adjusting for the number of hospitals included, presentations increased by 3.4% on average each year.

The report also shows that a greater proportion of patients are completing their emergency department visit in four hours or less-from 64% in 2011-12 to 73% in 2014-15.

Western Australia had the highest proportion of emergency department visits completed in four hours or less (79%), while the Northern Territory had the lowest (62%).

'About 30% of emergency department patients were admitted to hospital after their emergency department care. For these patients, 47% were admitted in 4 hours or less, and 90% were admitted within 11 hours and 41 minutes,' Ms Hargreaves said.

Overall, just over half (51%) of emergency department presentations were for men and boys, and the most common ten year age group was 15-24 years (14%).

'Over one-quarter (27%) of presentations to emergency departments were for injuries or poisoning,' Ms Hargreaves said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

For more Australian hospital statistics, visit www.aihw.gov.au/hospitals.

Canberra, 19 November 2015

Further information: Ms Jenny Hargreaves, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1121 mob. 0407 012 520