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Two thirds of ED visits meet four-hour standard

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report on emergency department care 2011-12

A new report reveals almost two thirds of the 6.5 million emergency department visits at Australia’s public hospitals in 2011-2012 were completed in four hours or less.

The statistics, detailed in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report on emergency department care 2011-12, shows 64 per cent of ED visits were completed in the four-hour timeframe, with 90 per cent of patients leaving the ED within 8.5 hours.

The states and territories have agreed to achieve a 90 per cent rate of patients completing their ED visit within four hours by the end of 2015 as part of the national health reforms.

It’s the first time the report, which covers the 12 months to June 30 this year, has included data

on the length of stay in EDs and the length of time from ED visits to hospital admissions.

Western Australia reported the highest proportion of ED visits completed in four hours at 79 per cent, Tasmania was next on 66 per cent, followed by Victoria and the Northern Territory both on 65 per cent, Queensland and South Australia on 64 per cent, New South Wales on 60 per cent and the ACT on 58 per cent.

The median waiting time to clinical care was 15 minutes in SA, 19 minutes in NSW, 21 minutes in Victoria, 22 minutes in Queensland, 24 minutes in Tasmania, 29 minutes in WA, 38 minutes in the ACT and 39 minutes in the NT.

A total of 1,569,282 people arrived at ED via ambulance, air ambulance or helicopter rescue service nationally, while 48,923 arrived in police or correctional service vehicles, while 4,917,233 were listed as other and 5397 were unknown.

The report also found the number of ED presentations is on the rise, increasing an average of 4.3 per cent each year between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

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