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Most patients are in & out of ED within 6 hours

25 August 2016

Media statement: Minister of Health

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new report confirms the vast majority of patients seen at an Emergency Department are in and out within six hours.

“A high functioning ED is a sign of a healthy hospital with a dedicated workforce, the support of a number of high-functioning departments including diagnostic services, and good general practice services,” says Dr Coleman.

“Figures released today show around one in seven New Zealanders went to an ED at least once during 2014/15. Over 92 per cent of all ED events were completed within six hours – that’s an increase from 87 per cent in 2010/11.

“These improvements are in part a result of the Government’s targeted approach. In 2009 we introduced the shorter stay in ED target which aims to have 95 per cent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred in six hours.

“The shorter stay target is one of six health targets which are publically reported each quarter. The latest results for Quarter Four 2015/16 show that nationally 94 per cent of patients seen in ED were managed within six hours.

“The shorter stay target provides an impetus to focus attention on improving acute care. Working towards that target has given DHBs the opportunity to review their systems and identify opportunities to work differently and smarter.”

The Emergency Department Report 2014/15 found that:

  • 1,062,047 patients were seen in an ED;
  • Children had a higher rate of ED use than adults;
  • One in every three ED events occurred during a weekend, and over half were determined to be immediately or potentially life-threatening;
  • One in three events resulted in the patient being admitted to hospital for further care.

The report is available via the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz

Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372

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