More than one-third of presentations to hospital emergency departments (EDs) are for lower urgency care, some of which may be managed more appropriately by health services in the community. In 2018−19, use of EDs for lower urgency care varied across Australia—ranging from 53 presentations per 1,000 people in Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network (PHN) area (Qld), to 333 per 1,000 people in Western NSW PHN area.


This covers data up to 30 June 2019, as such this data precedes COVID-19.

  • Cat. no: PHC 3
Findings from this report:
  • 1 in 3 ED presentations (35%, or 2.9 million) were classified as lower urgency in 2018−19, down from 38% in 2015–16

  • 45% of all lower urgency ED presentations were for people aged under 25

  • Just under half of all lower urgency ED presentations were after-hours (47%)

  • People in regional PHN areas continue to receive lower urgency ED care more than people in metropolitan PHN areas