Timeliness is important only to the extent that high-quality patient care is preserved
Increasing demand for emergency care has worsened access to acute hospital services across the developed world. Australia’s response has been a mixture of time-based emergency department (ED) targets to drive process improvements, efforts to divert patients from EDs into community-based services and changes to accelerate hospital-wide processes and patient discharges. There has also been increased investment in bed capacity, although not commensurate with rising demand. Seasonal planning has been undertaken for both acute and sub-acute sectors. Despite these initiatives, access to acute hospital care has become measurably worse.1
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