Effect of ambulance diversion on patient mortality: how access block can save your life

Daniel M Fatovich
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2005.tb00074.x
Published online: 5 December 2005

Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is the most serious issue confronting EDs in the Western world.1 As a result, diversion of ambulances to another hospital has become commonplace. This is primarily due to access block — patients in the ED requiring inpatient care are unable to gain access to appropriate hospital beds within a reasonable time frame.2 A reasonable time frame is defined as up to 8 hours spent in the ED by an admitted patient.2

  • Daniel M Fatovich

  • Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.



I am grateful for the assistance of Angela Dean and her team at Infohealth, and Medical Illustrations, Royal Perth Hospital.

Competing interests:

I have prayed to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, for more hospital beds.


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