Emergency department use 2014/15

Published online: 
25 August 2016
Publication cover


This report presents descriptive statistics about emergency department (ED) events and patients in New Zealand during 2014/15. This includes:

  • the distribution, demographic detail and frequency of use of people who were patients at ED at least once during the year
  • the location, timing, seasonality, urgency of condition at presentation, service provider, length of stay and outcome of reported ED events.

The report was compiled from data supplied by DHBs to the National Non-admitted Patient Collection. It is important to note that:

  • differences in the data presented may be an artefact of changes in hospital processes or classifications
  • results presented in this report may differ from other reports as different methods and criteria are used to analyse the data.

You can download the report and its accompanying data tables from the Downloads section of this page. The online tables present numbers and rates by DHB and service provider.

Key findings

  • Over one million ED events were attended by almost 700,000 patients in 2014/15.
  • For every 100 people in New Zealand, 15 were ED patients at least once during the year.
  • Rates of ED use were highest among the elderly and very young, and lowest among those in their 40s and 50s.
  • One in every four children residing in Lakes, Taranaki, Wairarapa and West Coast DHB regions were patients at an ED at least once during the year.
  • Males had a higher rate of ED use than females.
  • All ethnic groups showed an increase in the rate of ED use from 2010/11 to 2014/15.
  • Rates of ED use increased with the level of neighbourhood deprivation, with higher rates of ED use among those residing in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
  • Rates of single and repeated use of ED had similar trends across most demographic groups.
  • The facility with the most ED events in 2014/15 was Middlemore Hospital with over 100,000 events.
  • One in three ED events occurred during a weekend.
  • There were more ED events per day during the summer and winter months.
  • The vast majority of ED events were completed within six hours.
  • Over half of all ED events were determined to be immediately, imminently or potentially life-threatening.
  • One in three ED events ended with the patient being admitted to hospital.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    25 August 2016
  • ISBN:
    978-0-947515-29-4 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2016. Emergency Department Use 2014/15. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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