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Shorter time in ED not always good news

Annette  KING

Health Spokesperson
11 August  2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Shorter time in ED not always good news

Tony Ryall’s latest ‘good news’ - that people are staying for shorter periods in emergency departments – will be of no comfort to those patients being packed off home in the early hours of the morning, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“There have been two such cases in the last week, both of which involved vulnerable older people being turfed out of ED, presumably so hospitals could meet their targets.

“It’s time Mr Ryall opened his eyes to the stories now coming out of the country’s emergency departments. Not only do we have people being sent home unprepared, but I have had reports of patients being moved to areas other than ED before the six-hour deadline expires.

“The pressure to meet the Minister’s target is putting enormous pressure on staff, who, in tough circumstances, are doing their best. They know that every three months Mr Ryall wants to publish his skite sheet - the league table used to shame those EDs, which through no fault of their own don’t meet deadlines.

“There are serious questions that need to be asked about why triage 5 patients – those with the least serious conditions - are the only ones other than the most serious triage 1 patients who are being treated consistently within the required timeframe. 

“Are people with less serious conditions being pushed through faster so the 95 per cent target can be met? And why are so many people arriving at EDs with conditions that should be treated by a general practitioner? Perhaps because they can no longer afford to pay  doctors fees? 

“Mr Ryall might think triage times are not important. Emergency department professionals think otherwise. In fact the Australian College for Emergency Medicine has just renewed its triage policy, which New Zealand hospitals follow, noting triage times are an important clinical tool for ensuring patients are seen in a timely manner.

“Instead of wasting time on reflecting what was happening pre 2005 Mr Ryall needs to take a look at what’s actually happening in the here and now.”


© Scoop Media

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