How many emergency department presentations were there?

Almost 7.2 million emergency department presentations were reported by public hospital emergency departments in 2013-14, corresponding to over 19,700 presentations each day.

Emergency department presentations increased by 7.2% between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Over this period the estimated coverage of the collection increased from 85% to 88% of presentations. Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, emergency department presentations increased by 4.8% on average each year (while coverage increased by an average of 2.3%).

Around two-thirds of resuscitation patients (those requiring treatment immediately) presented between 10:00 am and 10:00 pm. Half of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes) presented between midday and 8:00 pm and half of non-urgent patients (requiring treatment within 120 minutes) presented between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm.

How long did patients wait?

In 2013-14, 75% of emergency department patients were 'seen on time'. The proportion 'seen on time' varied across the states and territories, ranging from 57% in the Northern Territory to 81% in New South Wales.

Almost 100% of resuscitation patients, 82% of emergency patients and 92% of non-urgent patients were seen on time.

Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the overall proportion of patients 'seen on time' increased from 70% to 75%. Over the same period, the median waiting time of Emergency presentations decreased from 23 minutes to 18 minutes.

How long did patients stay?

The length of stay in the emergency department is from the time the patient first presents to the emergency department until they physically depart the emergency department.

Nationally, the proportion of emergency department visits completed in 4 hours or less increased from 64% to 73% between 2011-12 and 2013-14.

For New South Wales the proportion completed in 4 hours or less increased from 60% in 2011-12 to 74% in 2013-14. Queensland also showed a notable increase in the proportion completed in 4 hours or less, rising from 64% in 2011-12 to 76% in 2013-14.

Western Australia had the highest proportion completed in 4 hours or less (79%) and the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory had the lowest (62%).

Three in ten (29%) emergency department patients were admitted to hospital after their emergency department care. For these patients, 45% had completed their emergency department visit in 4 hours or less, and just over 90% were admitted within 12 hours. Queensland and Western Australia had the highest proportion (53%) of emergency department patients admitted within 4 hours or less and the Northern Territory had the lowest (22%).