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Tony Ryall

31 January, 2013

Kiwis spending less time waiting in EDs

New Zealanders are spending less time waiting in hospital emergency departments (EDs), allowing them to receive treatment faster and return home sooner.

“Over 130,000 more patients received emergency care within six hours last year than in 2009, when the Governments National Health Targets began,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“Of the 970,000 ED presentations last year, 93 per cent of patients were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours or less.

“This is a significant improvement from a few years ago when only around 80 per cent of New Zealanders received ED care within six hours.

“Even with a steady increase in the number of presentations each year, EDs across the country are treating more patients faster.

“At one hospital, for example, the average time a patient spends in their ED has decreased by nearly four hours since 2008 — with 96 per cent of people now being treated within six hours or less.

“Thanks to the hard work of health professionals, we’ve reduced wait times and made a real difference to patients and their families.

“I’ve seen a letter from a patient, who recently went to the North Shore Hospital ED, who said every single member of the staff he encountered was fantastic and the facilities were first class. He was seen immediately, received excellent care, recovered quickly and returned home to enjoy the holidays with his family.”

Shorter stays in EDs is one of the Government’s National Health Targets to ensure New Zealanders have better, sooner more convenient healthcare.

As reported recently, the former clinical director of Auckland Hospital ED, Dr Tim Parke, believes this national health target has contributed to saving about 200 lives nationally.