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Media release

Record result for timeliness of transfer of patient care from ambulance to hospital

A new report today shows that in the first three months of this year, 91% of patients who arrived by ambulance to NSW emergency departments had their care transferred to hospital staff within 30 minutes. This is against an increase in the number of people visiting NSW emergency departments compared with the same time last year.

The Hospital Quarterly report, from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI), provides the most up-to-date snapshot of activity and performance in NSW public hospitals.

BHI Chief Executive Jean-Frederic Levesque said almost 27,000 more patients visited emergency departments during January to March 2016 compared with the same time in 2015.

"The report shows that the trend of more patients attending emergency departments is continuing. In January to March this year, more than 672,000 patients visited NSW emergency departments – an increase of 4%, and the highest number ever recorded in our reports,” Dr Levesque said.

“The percentage of patients arriving by ambulance who had their care transferred to hospital staff within 30 minutes increased from 87% at the beginning of 2015 to 91% for the same time in 2016.”

Hospital Quarterly now includes a new indicator - the percentage of emergency department patients whose treatment started within clinically recommended timeframes. For the January to March 2016 quarter, treatment started on time for 75% of patients.

“While this figure hasn’t changed compared with the same time one year ago, there has been a general improvement in this measure over the last few years,” Dr Levesque said.

“It is important to look at how many patients are receiving care within clinically recommended timeframes, as well as how long, on average, people wait to be treated.”

Other key emergency department performance findings include:   

  • The percentage of patients who left the emergency department within four hours of presentation dropped one percentage point to 74%   
  • The number of patients treated and admitted to hospital from emergency departments increased by 5%.

The report shows there were more than 49,000 elective surgeries performed, which is 1% fewer than the same quarter one year ago.

“Despite the reduction in elective surgeries performed, fewer patients received their surgery on time compared with the same time one year ago,” Dr Levesque said.

Overall 97% of patients received their elective surgery within clinically recommended timeframes, a decrease of one percentage point compared with the same quarter last year.

Detailed results are available at

Page updated: 18 Apr 2019