Access block: problems and progress

Peter A Cameron and Donald A Campbell
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05091.x
Published online: 3 February 2003

We need a coordinated approach to address the underlying problems in the health system

The effects of access block on acute hospital services are most disturbingly reflected by patients on trolleys queued in emergency department (ED) corridors and ambulances circling hospitals, waiting to deliver acutely ill patients. The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) have defined access block for emergency patients as the percentage of all patients admitted, transferred or dying in the ED where their total ED time exceeds eight hours.1 For elective patients, access block is reflected in ballooning elective waiting list numbers and length of time spent waiting.

  • 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, NT Hong Kong, SAR, China.
  • 2 Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC.


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