Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) is the largest hospital in Western Australia. The Wellington Street campus has about 600 beds and is located on the edge of the inner city. The emergency department (ED) has an annual census of around 55 000, with an admission rate of 44%. Forty-two per cent of all attendances arrive by ambulance, and data from the ambulance service indicate that RPH receives more priority one ambulances than the other major teaching hospitals combined. From 1996 to 2001, attendances increased by 14% and admissions by 16%. In the same time, inpatient bed numbers have been reduced by about a third. Before 1999, ambulance bypass was extremely rare.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.