The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) recommends that at least 80% of discharged patients should depart the ED within four hours.
For people who require hospital admission, at least 90% of patients should be admitted to a hospital bed, out of the ED, within eight hours. It is delays in getting these admitted patients out of the ED that leads to delays for care for all patients and leads to ambulance ramping and diversions.
Pointing fingers will not solve the systemic issues that are leading to these highly publicised, but increasingly common, adverse events that also include emergency department overcrowding.
The systemic pressures that lead to long waits for care have been building for decades and are not caused by any single factor or stakeholder, including Te Whatu Ora.
COVID-19 and adverse weather events linked to climate change did not cause these pressures, but have made them worse.
Right now, across the motu, there are too many sick and injured people and not enough resources – including hospital beds and community care – or trained staff for people to get the affordable and accessible healthcare they need, when and where they need it.
There are no easy fixes. We must all work together to create a health system that genuinely meet the needs of every person, now and into the future.
To anyone seeking acute care, their carers and whānau: New Zealand’s emergency department staff are doing our best to treat people with serious injury or illness as quickly and safely as possible. People seeking care for non-immediately life-threatening conditions will likely experience long waits. Please be patient, please be kind. We know the waits are difficult, but we will get to you, and we will do our best to provide you with the safest possible care.
In situations where alternatives for ED care are possible, please consider other care pathways, such as GPs, urgent care centres, telephone helplines and pharmacies.
Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857