Longer stays in an emergency department
(ED) are associated with poorer patient outcomes. Long waits to see
emergency staff can discourage people who need care from waiting
and may lead to reduced morale among ED staff.
In 2015, the Department of Health &
Human Services (the department) set a target for 81 per cent of
patients who present at public hospital EDs to be admitted to the
hospital for treatment, to be referred to another hospital for
treatment, or to be discharged within four hours. The health
services and the Minister for Health agreed to this target in their
annual Statement of Priorities. This new target replaces the
ambitious previous national target of having 90 per cent of ED
patients discharged home or admitted for further treatment within
four hours by 2015.
We assessed whether public hospitals are
managing EDs efficiently and effectively. We compared the
efficiency and effectiveness of all Victorian public EDs. We looked
at four hospitals in closer detail to understand why performance
varies, and we also assessed how the department supports and
oversees emergency care.
The report includes a series of
recommendations for health services and the department.