Access to services

Of the 8.0 million presentations in public hospitals in 2017–18, the vast majority (98.2%) were Emergency presentations. A small proportion (1.5%) were Return visit, planned and the remaining types of visit accounted for about 0.3% of presentations. 

The most common of the 5 triage categories for ED presentations was Semi‑urgent (40% of all presentations), while 0.8% were assigned to Resuscitation (needing immediate treatment). About 51% of all patients were assigned to one of the 3 most urgent triage categories. This proportion ranged from less than 40% for patients aged 5 to 14 years to more than 67% for patients aged 95 and over.

See Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.12 and 4.13 for caveat information on these data. Available to download in the data section.

Since 2013–14, the proportion of patients assigned a triage category of Urgent has increased, and the proportion assigned a triage category of Semi-urgent or Non-urgent has decreased.

In 2017–18, 3 in 4 (74%) presentations to EDs began with the patient either walking into the ED, or arriving by private transport, public transport, community transport, or taxi. About 25% arrived by Ambulance, air ambulance or helicopter rescue service.

The proportion of patients Admitted to this hospital was 31%. This was lower for less urgent triage categories—ranging from 75% for Resuscitation patients to 5% for Non‑urgent patients. About 61% of all presentations reported an episode end status of Departed without being admitted or referred, and this proportion was higher for less urgent triage categories.

Where to go for more information

Information on admission status for ED presentations is presented in the ‘Length of stay’ section of this report, and ‘Chapter 6–How long did people stay in the emergency department?’. Available to download in the pdf version of this report.