Acute medical admissions in our hospitals: getting it right

Harvey H Newnham, Campbell H Thompson, Paul F Jenkins and Lauri T O’Brien
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02665.x
Published online: 6 July 2009

Acute medical units can help fast-track medical patient assessment and admission to hospital

Hospitals in Australia are experiencing increasing numbers of medical presentations (ie, patients requiring admission under the care of a physician rather than a surgeon) in a context of ongoing restriction of inpatient beds. The resulting pressure on emergency departments (EDs) causes frustration for health care workers and administrators alike, as they struggle to meet key performance indicators that are designed to minimise the time that patients spend on trolleys in the corridors of EDs. Many hospitals have responded to this challenge by developing acute medical units (AMUs) that are equipped to fast-track patients with medical problems to the care of inpatient physicians (ie, staff physicians and visiting medical officers) and multidisciplinary teams who can best plan the management, care and disposition (destination after leaving the AMU) of these patients.

  • Harvey H Newnham1,2
  • Campbell H Thompson3
  • Paul F Jenkins4
  • Lauri T O’Brien5

  • 1 The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.
  • 4 University of Western Australia, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA.
  • 5 Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, SA.


Competing interests:

None identified.


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