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Emergency department overcrowding: dying to get in?

George Braitberg
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (11): 624-625.
Published online: 3 December 2007

Initiatives to prevent access block should be aimed at long-term structural changes to bed availability to meet the needs of a complex and ageing population; current management practices are creating a growing mismatch between supply and demand

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards have defined access block for emergency patients as the percentage of all patients admitted, transferred or dying in the emergency department (ED) where their total ED time exceeds 8 hours.1 Simply put, access block is the absence of flow at a system level, not just the ED. In United States literature, access block is referred to as “overcrowding”.

  • George Braitberg

  • Department of Emergency Medicine, Southern Health, Melbourne, VIC.


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