Delivering a Healthy WA

WA Public Hospital Activity

Overview of ED

The ED (emergency department) is a hospital or primary health care service that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and require immediate attention. EDs provide rapid assessment and management of critical illnesses.

Upon arrival in the ED, people usually undergo a brief triage, or interview, to help determine the nature and severity of their illness. Individuals with serious illnesses are then seen by a physician more rapidly than those with less severe symptoms or injuries. Guidelines on how patients are assessed and treated in the emergency department can be found at Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (external website). After initial assessment and treatment, patients are either admitted to the hospital, stabilised and transferred to another hospital for various reasons, or discharged (Australasian College of Emergency Medicine).

ED activity has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This is consistent with trends across Australia and overseas. There are record numbers of people presenting for emergency care or elective treatment, placing increasing demands on our hospital services.

In order to meet these demands there are various programs in place to continue to meet the needs of our communities. These include ensuring there are sufficient medical, nursing, allied health, administration and operational staff; provision of necessary equipment and infrastructure; making beds available; and introduction of initiatives to meet community demand for hospital care. Further information on these initiatives can be found at health care services.