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Hospital Performance: Time patients spent in emergency departments in 2011–12

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Time in ED: Differences between admitted and discharged patients

There were marked differences in results when comparing time spent in ED from arrival to departure for all patients, relative to patients admitted to a hospital ward from ED and those who were discharged from ED (see Figure 2 and Figure 3).

Admitted patients departing ED within four hours of arrival

Among major metropolitan and regional hospitals, the percentage of admitted patients who left ED within four hours (peer group performance) was 26% and 24% respectively.

In 2011–12, for patients admitted from ED to a ward in the same hospital, the percentage departing ED within four hours varied across hospitals in each peer group:

  • Major metropolitan hospitals:
    from 55% for Fremantle Hospital (WA) to 9% for Wyong Hospital (NSW)
  • Major regional hospitals:
    from 46% for Bunbury Hospital (WA) and Warrnambool Hospital (VIC) to 12% for Coffs Harbour Hospital (NSW)
  • Large metropolitan hospitals:
    from 56% for Swan District Hospital (WA) to 10% for Shellharbour Hospital (NSW)
  • Large regional hospitals:
    from 75% for Albany Hospital (WA) to 18% for Hervey Bay Hospital (QLD)
  • Medium hospitals:
    from 65% for Gympie Hospital (QLD) to 10% for Belmont Hospital (NSW) (see Figure 2).

Discharged patients departing ED within four hours of arrival

Across major metropolitan and regional hospitals the percentage of discharged patients who left ED within four hours (peer group performance) was 70% and 78% respectively.

In 2011–12, for patients discharged from ED, the percentage departing ED within four hours of arrival varied across hospitals in each peer group:

  • Major metropolitan hospitals:
    from 91% for Royal Perth Hospital (WA) to 45% for Princess Alexandra Hospital (QLD)
  • Major regional hospitals:
    from 91% for Ballarat Hospital (VIC) to 66% for Lismore Hospital (NSW) and Royal Darwin Hospital (NT)
  • Large metropolitan hospitals:
    from 91% for Sandringham Hospital (VIC) to 58% for Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital (NSW)
  • Large regional hospitals:
    from 96% for Wodonga Hospital (VIC) to 70% for Grafton Hospital (NSW)
  • Medium hospitals:
    from 97% for Williamstown Hospital (VIC) to 51% for Mount Druitt Hospital (NSW) (see Figure 3).

Table 4: State and territory National Emergency Access Targets: percentage of all patients departing ED within four hours, 2012–2015

State and territory National Emergency Access Targets (%)
2012 2013 2014 2015
New South Wales 69% 76% 83% 90%
Victoria# 70% 75% 81% 90%
Queensland 70% 77% 83% 90%
Western Australia 76% 81% 85% 90%
South Australia 67% 75% 82% 90%
Tasmania 72% 78% 84% 90%
Australian Capital Territory 64% 73% 81% 90%
Northern Territory# 69% 75% 83% 90%

Source: National Health Reform Agreement – National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services, 2011.

# Updated targets - Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, email to NHPA, 7 December 2012; Departments of Health, Northern Territory and Victoria, emails to NHPA, 10 December 2012

The term admitted refers to patients who were admitted to a ward in the same hospital where to ED, but excludes patients transferred to another hospital for admission.

The term discharged refers to all patients who presented to ED and were not subsequently admitted to the same hospital. This group includes patients who were discharged, transferred to another hospital for admission, left ED before commencement or completion of treatment, and those who died on arrival at, or in, ED.

Figure 2 and Figure 3 provide comparisons of the progress of hospitals separately for patients who are subsequently admitted or not admitted to the hospital.

To ensure comparisons are fair, each figure compares hospitals against other hospitals that have been grouped together on the basis of similar size.

Peer overview - admitted patients

Figure 2: Percentage of admitted patients departing ED within four hours of arrival amongst the largest hospital EDs in Australia, by peer group1, 2011–12

Chart showing the percentage distribution of admitted patients departing emergency departments within four hours of arrival amongst the largest hospital EDs in Australia, by peer group (major metro, major regional, large metro, large regional and medium hospitals) in 2011-12. Hospitals in Western Australia made up much of the top 10 per cent nationally, especially for major metro hospitals.

Legend for the above figure, denoting presentation and performance via data point size and colour respectively.

Hospital Peer group State or territory Peer group performance Departed
within four
hours
National comparison
Fremantle Hospital Major metropolitan WA 26% 55% Highest 10%
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Major metropolitan WA 26% 53% Highest 10%
Royal Perth Hospital Major metropolitan WA 26% 51% Highest 10%
Monash Medical Centre [Clayton] Major metropolitan Vic 26% 41% Highest 10%
The Alfred Major metropolitan Vic 26% 39% Highest 10%
Blacktown Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 26% 11% Lowest 10%
Gosford Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 26% 11% Lowest 10%
Logan Hospital Major metropolitan Qld 26% 11% Lowest 10%
Caboolture Hospital Major metropolitan Qld 26% 10% Lowest 10%
Wyong Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 26% 8% Lowest 10%
Warrnambool Hospital Major regional Vic 24% 46% Highest 10%
Bunbury Hospital Major regional WA 24% 46% Highest 10%
Lismore Hospital Major regional NSW 24% 13% Lowest 10%
Coffs Harbour Hospital Major regional NSW 24% 12% Lowest 10%
Swan District Hospital Large metropolitan WA 29% 56% Highest 10%
Modbury Hospital Large metropolitan SA 29% 53% Highest 10%
Canterbury Hospital Large metropolitan NSW 29% 13% Lowest 10%
Shellharbour Hospital Large metropolitan NSW 29% 10% Lowest 10%
Albany Hospital Large regional WA 38% 75% Highest 10%
Hervey Bay Hospital Large regional Qld 38% 18% Lowest 10%
Gympie Hospital Medium Qld 37% 65% Highest 10%
Belmont Hospital Medium NSW 37% 10% Lowest 10%

XX% In highest 10% of peer group hospitals nationally

XX% In lowest 10% of peer group hospitals nationally

1. For more information on measures and peer groups see About the data.

2. Hospital is in the lowest 10% of their peer group nationally.

3. Hospital is in the highest 10% of their peer group nationally.

Source: National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database 2011–12, data extracted 5 November 2012.

Peer overview - discharged patients

Figure 3: Percentage of discharged patients departing ED within four hours of arrival amongst the largest hospital EDs in Australia, by peer group1, 2011–12

Chart showing the percentage distribution of discharged patients departing emergency departments within four hours of arrival amongst the largest hospital EDs in Australia, by peer group (major metro, major regional, large metro, large regional and medium hospitals) in 2011-12. Hospitals in Victoria were present in the top 10 per cent nationally in all categories. Western Australia had three major metro hospitals in the top 10 per cent. NSW and VIC had one each.

Legend for the above figure, denoting presentation and performance via data point size and colour respectively.

Hospital Peer group State or territory Peer group performance Departed
within four
hours
National comparison
Royal Perth Hospital Major metropolitan WA 70% 91% Highest 10%
The Alfred Major metropolitan Vic 70% 89% Highest 10%
Fremantle Hospital Major metropolitan WA 70% 87% Highest 10%
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Major metropolitan WA 70% 86% Highest 10%
The Tweed Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 70% 85% Highest 10%
Westmead Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 70% 56% Lowest 10%
Gosford Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 70% 56% Lowest 10%
Liverpool Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 70% 50% Lowest 10%
Blacktown Hospital Major metropolitan NSW 70% 49% Lowest 10%
Princess Alexandra Hospital Major metropolitan Qld 70% 45% Lowest 10%
Ballarat Health Services [Base Campus] Major regional Vic 78% 91% Highest 10%
Orange Health Service Major regional NSW 78% 88% Highest 10%
Bunbury Hospital Major regional WA 78% 88% Highest 10%
Lismore Hospital Major regional NSW 78% 66% Lowest 10%
Royal Darwin Hospital Major regional NT 78% 66% Lowest 10%
Sandringham Hospital Large metropolitan Vic 80% 91% Highest 10%
Canterbury Hospital Large metropolitan NSW 80% 62% Lowest 10%
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Large metropolitan NSW 80% 60% Lowest 10%
Albury Wodonga Health [Wodonga Campus] Large regional Vic 87% 96% Highest 10%
Grafton Base Hospital Large regional NSW 87% 70% Lowest 10%
Williamstown Hospital Medium Vic 83% 67% Highest 10%
Mount Druitt Hospital Medium NSW 83% 51% Lowest 10%

XX% In highest 10% of peer group hospitals nationally

XX% In lowest 10% of peer group hospitals nationally

1. For more information on measures and peer groups see About the data.

Source: National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database 2011–12, data extracted 5 November 2012.

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