Time patients spent in emergency departments in 2012 and 2013

This report presents the percentage of patients leaving emergency departments within four hours of arrival across 112  public hospitals.

In 2013, there were almost 7 million patient presentations to emergency departments (EDs) around Australia. At major metropolitan hospitals, which accounted for 44% of patient presentations across all hospitals in 2013, average performance for this peer group (peer performance) has increased steadily. In October–December 2011, 53% of patients who presented at these hospital EDs departed within four hours; this increased to 66% in October–December 2013.

Improvements are particularly evident among the lowest-performing major metropolitan hospitals. Among these hospitals, 35% of patients departed ED within four hours in October–December 2011, which increased to 51% in October–December 2013. The highest-performing hospitals have also improved since 2011. At major regional hospitals, which accounted for 16% of patient presentations in 2013, peer performance has been relatively consistent in recent years.

In the most recent reporting quarter (October–December 2013), peer performance was similar at major metropolitan (66%) and major regional hospitals (70%). There was also marked variation in the percentage of patients departing ED at hospital level within each of these peer groups.