Health targets: Shorter stays in emergency departments

What is the target?

95% of patients will be admitted, discharged, or transferred from an emergency department (ED) within six hours.

The target indicates how efficiently our acute (urgent) patients are flowing through our public hospitals to get back home again.

Why is this target important?

ED length of stay is an important measure of the quality of acute (emergency and urgent) care in our public hospitals, because:

  • EDs are designed to provide urgent (acute) health care; the timeliness of treatment delivery (and any time spent waiting) is by definition important for patients
  • long stays in emergency departments are linked to overcrowding of the ED
  • the medical and nursing literature has linked both long stays and overcrowding in EDs to negative clinical outcomes for patients such as increased mortality and longer inpatient lengths of stay
  • overcrowding can also lead to compromised standards of privacy and dignity for patients, for instance, through the use of corridor trolleys to house patients.

Who is the target champion?

Angela Pitchford - National Clinical Director of Emergency Department Services

Angela Pitchford
National Clinical Director of Emergency Department Services

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