This report presents 2012 data for performance indicators in the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services. It includes measures of the extent to which states and territories met targets for emergency department lengths of stay of four hours or less, and for lengths of time spent waiting for elective surgery. It is being released on 28 February 2013, two months after the end of the 2012 reporting period, the date by which most of the data are required by the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council.
The National Emergency Access Target (NEAT)
The goal of the NEAT is to increase the proportion of emergency department patients who physically leave the emergency department (for admission to hospital, referral to another
hospital, or discharge) in 4 hours or less.
In 2012, five states and territories achieved proportions of patients leaving the emergency department in 4 hours or less that were higher than the baseline figures specified in the Agreement, and one state had a proportion greater than the target specified for it in the Agreement.
Overall, 65.5% of patients presenting to a public hospital emergency department had their visit to the emergency department completed in 4 hours or less. Nationally, and for most states and territories, the highest proportion of presentations with length of stay of 4 hours or less were in the October–December quarter.
The National Elective Surgery Target (NEST)
The goal of the NEST is to increase the proportion of elective surgery patients seen within clinically recommended times and to reduce the number of patients waiting beyond the clinically recommended time.
In 2012, six states and territories achieved proportions seen on time greater than or equal to the baseline figures specified in the Agreement for two or three clinical urgency categories. Three states achieved proportions seen on time greater than the targets specified for them in the Agreement for two or three urgency categories.
Six states and territories had average overdue waits shorter than the baseline figures in the Agreement for two or three clinical urgency categories. Four states and territories had average overdue waits shorter than their targets for two or three urgency categories.
During 2012, five states and territories had provided treatment or referral for the longest wait overdue patients (those who had waited the longest at 31 December 2011) for all urgency categories. A further two states and territories had provided treatment or referral for all urgency category 1 patients.
There were almost 671,000 admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists, as either an elective or an emergency admission in 2012. Median waiting times ranged from 27 days in Queensland to 55 days in the Australian Capital Territory. Numbers of admissions were highest in the July–September quarter nationally and in six states and territories.