How much emergency department activity was there? 

In 2014-15, there were about 7.4 million presentations to the 290 Australian public hospital emergency departments that reported to the National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database; this corresponded to over 20,000 presentations each day.

Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, emergency department presentations increased by 4.5% on average each year. However, after adjusting for coverage changes, it is estimated that presentations increased by about 3.4% on average.

Emergency department presentations increased by 2.4% between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Who used emergency department services?

In 2014-15, 51% of emergency department presentations were for men and boys. The most common 10-year age group was 15-24 years (14.0%), followed by 25-34 years (13.8%).

Persons aged 65 years and over accounted for about 20% of all emergency department presentations in 2014-15.

How and why were emergency department services used?

In 2014-15, about 24% of emergency department presentations were for people who arrived by Ambulance, air ambulance or helicopter rescue service, including about 84% of Resuscitation patients (who need to be treated immediately).

About 27% of emergency department presentations in 2014-15 (over 1.8 million) had a principal diagnosis in the ICD-10-AM chapter Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes.

How long did people wait?

The proportion of Emergency presentations that were seen on time increased between 2010-11 and 2013-14-from 70% to 75%.

In 2014-15, about 74% of patients were seen on time. The proportion of patients seen on time ranged from 59% in the Australian Capital Territory to 81% in New South Wales.

Almost 100% of Resuscitation patients, 79% of Emergency patients and 92% of Non-urgent patients were seen on time.

How long did people stay?

Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the proportion of emergency department visits completed in 4 hours or less increased from 64% to 73%.

In 2014-15, Western Australia had the highest proportion completed in 4 hours or less (79%) and 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. Queensland had the highest proportion (57%) of emergency department patients admitted in 4 hours or less and the Northern Territory had the lowest (23%).