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Hospital Performance: Time patients spent in emergency departments in 2012 and 2013, Update

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Summary

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 (Figure 1).

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 (Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Figure 1: Performance trends for major metropolitan hospitals, Oct–Dec 2011 to Oct–Dec 2013

Group Oct–Dec 2011 Oct–Dec 2012 Oct–Dec 2013
Highest 10% of hospitals 70 76 83
Peer performance 53 58 66
Lowest 10% of hospitals 35 47 51

Report Highlights

  • The latest available information on the time patients spent in ED at 112 of Australia’s major and large hospitals
  • Quarterly data are presented at hospital level for 52 major metropolitan and 27 major regional hospitals across five quarters (Figure 3 and Figure 4)
  • Data include the addition of three new quarters: April–June 2013, July–September 2013, and October–December 2013
  • Annual data are presented at hospital level for 79 major and 33 large hospitals by state and territory in 2012 and 2013 (Table 2 to Table 9).
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