Access block and ED overcrowding.
ABSTRACT Prospective and retrospective access block hospital intervention studies from 1998 to 2008 were reviewed to assess the evidence for interventions around access block and ED overcrowding, including over 220 documents reported in Medline and data extracted from The State of our Public Hospitals Reports. There is an estimated 20-30% increased mortality rate due to access block and ED overcrowding. The main causes are major increases in hospital admissions and ED presentations, with almost no increase in the capacity of hospitals to meet this demand. The rate of available beds in Australia reduced from 2.6 beds per 1000 (1998-1999) to 2.4 beds per 1000 (2002-2007) in 2002, and has remained steady at between 2.5-2.6 beds per 1000. In the same period, the number of ED visits increased over 77% from 3.8 million to 6.74 million. Similarly, the number of public hospital admissions increased at an average rate of 3.4% per year from 3.7 to 4.7 million. Compared with 1998-1999 rates, the number of available beds in 2006-2007 is thus similar (2.65 vs 2.6 beds per 1000), but the number of ED presentations has almost doubled. All patient groups are affected by access block. Access block interventions may temporarily reduce some of the symptoms of access block, but many measures are not sustainable. The root cause of the problem will remain unless hospital capacity is addressed in an integrated approach at both national and state levels.
- SourceAvailable from: ncbi.nlm.nih.govEmergency Medicine Journal 04/2003; 20(2):149-55. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To investigate differences in numbers and characteristics of patients using primary or emergency care because of differences in organisation of out of hours care. Increasing numbers of self referrals at the accident and emergency (A&E) department cause overcrowding, while a substantial number of these patients exhibit minor injuries that can be treated by a general practitioner (GP). Two different organisations of out of hours care in two Dutch cities (Heerlen and Maastricht) were investigated. Important differences between the two organisations are the accessibility and the location of primary care facility (GP cooperative). The Heerlen GP cooperative is situated in the centre of the city and is respectively 5 km and 9 km away from the two A&E departments situated in the area of Heerlen. This GP cooperative can only be visited by appointment. The Maastricht GP cooperative has free access and is located within the local A&E department. During a three week period all registration forms of patient contacts with out of hours care (GP cooperative and A&E department) were collected and with respect to the primary care patients a random sample of one third was analysed. For the Heerlen and Maastricht GP cooperative the annual contact rate, as extrapolated from our data, per 1000 inhabitants per year is 238 and 279 respectively (chi(2)((1df))=4.385, p=0.036). The contact rate at the A&E departments of Heerlen (n=66) and Maastricht (n=52) is not different (chi(2)((1df))=1.765, p=0.184). Some 51.7% of the patients attending the A&E department in Heerlen during out of hours were self referred, compared with 15.9% in Maastricht (chi(2)((1df))=203.13, p<0.001). The organisation of out of hours care in Maastricht has optimised the GP's gatekeeper function and thereby led to fewer self referrals at the A&E department, compared with Heerlen.Emergency Medicine Journal 03/2003; 20(2):184-7. · 1.65 Impact Factor
- Emergency medicine Australasia: EMA 12/2009; 21(6):435-9. · 0.99 Impact Factor