Healthier ED waiting timesA new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that almost three-quarters of emergency department patients in the urgent category were ‘seen on time’ during 2012-13
The report, Australian Hospital Statistics 2012-13: Emergency Department Care, shows the number of emergency department visits that were ‘seen on time’ - meaning treatment was received from a medical officer or nurse within an appropriate time for the urgency category - rose from 70 per cent to 73 per cent between 2008-09 and 2012-13.
The proportion ‘seen on time’ in 2012-13 varied across the States and Territories, from 51 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory, to 78 per cent in NSW.
Most States and Territories reported improvements in waiting time statistics. South Australia recorded the largest improvement in the proportion seen on time, which rose from 64 per cent to 75 per cent. Queensland and Tasmania also achieved notable improvements in the proportion seen on time over this period.
Nationally, almost 100 per cent of resuscitation patients (those requiring treatment immediately) and 82 per cent of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes) were seen on time.
Overall, in 2012-13, 50 per cent of patients received treatment within 19 minutes of presenting to the emergency department and 90 per cent received treatment within one hour and 41 minutes of presentation.
Spokesperson for AIHW, Nigel Harding said more than 6.7 million emergency department presentations were reported by public hospital emergency departments in 2012-13, equating to just over 18,000 presentations each day.
He said emergency department presentations rose by 2.5 per cent nationally between 2011-12 and 2012-13, with the largest rises in Tasmania (3.8 per cent) and Queensland (3.7 per cent).
“The aim of the National Emergency Access Target is that, by 31 December 2015, 90 per cent of emergency department visits will be completed in four hours or less -from arrival, to when they went home or were admitted to the hospital,” Mr Harding said.
“In 2012-13, 67 per cent of emergency department visits were completed in four hours or less, and this was an increase from 64 per cent in 2011-12.
“Western Australia had the highest proportion of emergency department visits completed within four hours and the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest - 77 per cent and 57 per cent respectively,” Mr Harding said.
The report can be viewed at http://www.aihw.gov.au
Edition 384, 22 October 2013