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Faster emergency care for Kiwi families

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

11 August 2013       

Media Statement       

Faster emergency care for Kiwi families
Health Minister Tony Ryall says public health services are providing New Zealanders with emergency healthcare faster than ever before.
Mr Ryall today announced provisional results for the shorter stays in emergency departments (EDs) national health target for the last quarter.
“Nationally, 94 per cent of patients were admitted, discharged or transferred from EDs within six hours – an increase of nearly 30 per cent compared to 2008,” says Mr Ryall.
“This National-led Government has made shorter stays in EDs a priority. It’s only five years ago that newspapers were full of stories about patients waiting days on end in ED corridors – that doesn’t happen now.
“The government has invested an average $500 million a year extra into protecting and growing the public health service.
“Prior to the introduction of the national health targets in 2009, there was a sole indicator for monitoring performance of EDs – how long a patient waited to be first seen by a doctor or nurse.
“I’ve been told by ED doctors and nurses that this indicator was of limited benefit. The old triage system measures how long it takes a doctor or nurse to decide which category you are in and then enter it into the computer. That’s not measuring the right thing which is how long you wait to get treated.
“Former Health Minister, Annette King has also acknowledged the limitations of using triage times to measure ED waits. In 2005 Mrs King said triage times weren’t a very accurate measure and mentioned that specialists saw them as a rather poor measure. 
“Thanks to the commitment of our doctors and nurses to achieve the shorter stays in EDs targets, New Zealand is now seen as a leader in reducing ED wait times, and many countries, including Australia, Canada and Ireland, are learning from our successes,” says Mr Ryall.

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