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MacGyver

Emergency Department

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After 9 years, I had my first experience of an Australian hospital emergency department due to an ankle injury at the weekend. The staff were wonderful and very thorough, but the wait time was over 5 hours!! 

Is such a long wait time normal for non critical injuries such as this? I hadn’t intended to go but Health direct told me to go to ED immediately after their phone assessment.

Up to this point I have elected not to get private health insurance, preferring to pay my money (via the levy etc) to contribute to the public health system instead of a private health insurance companies profits. Is there any scenario where private health care would make a difference to emergency department wait times?


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7 minutes ago, MacGyver said:

After 9 years, I had my first experience of an Australian hospital emergency department due to an ankle injury at the weekend. The staff were wonderful and very thorough, but the wait time was over 5 hours!! 

Is such a long wait time normal for non critical injuries such as this? I hadn’t intended to go but Health direct told me to go to ED immediately after their phone assessment.

Up to this point I have elected not to get private health insurance, preferring to pay my money (via the levy etc) to contribute to the public health system instead of a private health insurance companies profits. Is there any scenario where private health care would make a difference to emergency department wait times?

I don't think private health cover would improve a visit to any ED. Depends on the hospital and your condition for wait times. An ankle injury isn't going to kill you and there may be more urgent cases coming in that kept bumping you.

I swallowed a bee that stung my throat once. By the time I got home I could hardly breathe. My wife sent me to ED and as soon as they realised I had problems breathing I was in and being treated in minutes.

Another time I'd hurt ribs in the gym. Put up with them for a couple of weeks but couldn't sleep and coughing, sneezing or even turning round quick was really painful. Thought I'd pop to ED at the hospital near work, which is big and busy. As soon as I mentioned chest pain I was in and wired up to all sorts of machines. Even though I told them I'd done it at the gym a couple of weeks before😁

Next time just say you have chest pain then mention the ankle when you're on the right side of the door.

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15 minutes ago, MacGyver said:

After 9 years, I had my first experience of an Australian hospital emergency department due to an ankle injury at the weekend. The staff were wonderful and very thorough, but the wait time was over 5 hours!! 

Is such a long wait time normal for non critical injuries such as this? I hadn’t intended to go but Health direct told me to go to ED immediately after their phone assessment.

Up to this point I have elected not to get private health insurance, preferring to pay my money (via the levy etc) to contribute to the public health system instead of a private health insurance companies profits. Is there any scenario where private health care would make a difference to emergency department wait times?

if a person has private health insurance maybe if they went to the emergency department at a private hospital it may make a difference in the wait time.  I don't think it would make any difference if they went to ED at a public hospital.  These days 5 hours seems to be the norm.  ☹️  

Hope your ankle is a lot better!

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8 minutes ago, Toots said:

if a person has private health insurance maybe if they went to the emergency department at a private hospital it may make a difference in the wait time.  I don't think it would make any difference if they went to ED at a public hospital.  These days 5 hours seems to be the norm.  ☹️  

Hope your ankle is a lot better!

Hobbling around on crutches but thankfully nothing too serious 

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12 minutes ago, Paul1Perth said:

I don't think private health cover would improve a visit to any ED. Depends on the hospital and your condition for wait times. An ankle injury isn't going to kill you and there may be more urgent cases coming in that kept bumping you.

Yeah totally agree, I expected more urgent matters to be dealt with first and felt a bit guilty being taken ahead of another patient that seemed to be struggling to breathe. I was just a bit surprised at how long the wait time was. I’ve had ‘lengthy’ waits in ED in Scotland for similar injuries, but no more than an hour or two.


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Of course Private Health makes no difference in the Emergency Department. God Forbid.

The name itself tells you what it is for Emergencies. It does not function as a queue but based on medical priority.

If you need an ankle operation/reconstruction etc that is where you might get value out of your health insurance.

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2 hours ago, Toots said:

if a person has private health insurance maybe if they went to the emergency department at a private hospital it may make a difference in the wait time.  I don't think it would make any difference if they went to ED at a public hospital.  These days 5 hours seems to be the norm.  ☹️  

Hope your ankle is a lot better!

I reckon 5 hours is a long time. I've been a couple of times and had to wait max couple of hours. Luckily not the weekend when all the sporting injuries are coming in.

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3 hours ago, Paul1Perth said:

Next time just say you have chest pain then mention the ankle when you're on the right side of the door

Don't do that.

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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, MacGyver said:

Yeah totally agree, I expected more urgent matters to be dealt with first and felt a bit guilty being taken ahead of another patient that seemed to be struggling to breathe. I was just a bit surprised at how long the wait time was. I’ve had ‘lengthy’ waits in ED in Scotland for similar injuries, but no more than an hour or two.

You probably haven't been to an ED in the UK then since austerity. There has been a noticeable increase in wait times. Although when my son fell off his bike and hit his head they saw him immediately. It does depend on your need and not when you arrived.

A lot of people at A&E probably don't need to be there. If you want a really good experience go to A&E in any major hospital on a Friday or Saturday night. Quite unbelievable view of the human race.

Edited by newjez
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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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2 hours ago, Parley said:

Of course Private Health makes no difference in the Emergency Department. God Forbid.

The name itself tells you what it is for Emergencies. It does not function as a queue but based on medical priority.

If you need an ankle operation/reconstruction etc that is where you might get value out of your health insurance.

https://www.medibank.com.au/health-support/hospital-assist/article/in-an-emergency/

  • In many cases, a private hospital emergency department may be quieter, and you may not have to wait as long. However, going to a private emergency department may result in out-of-pocket costs

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, rtritudr said:

https://www.medibank.com.au/health-support/hospital-assist/article/in-an-emergency/

  • In many cases, a private hospital emergency department may be quieter, and you may not have to wait as long. However, going to a private emergency department may result in out-of-pocket costs

Our local private hospital charges just for turning up to the ED, from memory on an evening visit, approximately $300 if PR, and $500 if visitor or even someone on a long term temporary visa living here. Unfortunately the ambulance crew assumed I was Australian, and as I had chest pains, and the public hospital had ambulances stacked up, we thought  $300 was worth it, bit taken aback to pay $500. Cant fault the paramedics they are amazing, totally professional and caring. Well looked after at the hospital and seen instantly, but the shock of the price though, might have made me worse!!!! 

ps, we had top overseas health cover, but it didn’t cover the charge, just any treatment

Edited by ramot
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I've never had to attend an Emergency Dept but read about long waiting times in the media.  However, I just looked up Launceston General and this is stated:  25 Mar 2021 — The time within which 90% of presentations were seen was 1 hour and 32 minutes. 50% of patients were seen within 17 minutes, which was faster than waiting times for previous four years. 

Our local hospital - the Mersey Hospital's emergency dept was closed in the evenings but I note it is now open 24 hours.  Staffing was a problem last year.

I think it very much depends on how large the hospital is and which area it's in.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, MacGyver said:

..., but the wait time was over 5 hours!! ...Is there any scenario where private health care would make a difference to emergency department wait times?

You mentioned weekend.  ED's are inclined to be extra busy with sporting injuries and home handy person accidents at the weekend. 

However I accompanied a friend to ED one week day and we had to wait 5 hours then. 

I've been to the ED's of private hospitals:  the waiting times are usually much shorter  than public hospitals but there is an upfront fee and this is unlikely to be covered by a private medical insurer (well, it wasn't in my case).

Edited by Skani
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, newjez said:

You probably haven't been to an ED in the UK then since austerity. There has been a noticeable increase in wait times. Although when my son fell off his bike and hit his head they saw him immediately. It does depend on your need and not when you arrived.

A lot of people at A&E probably don't need to be there. If you want a really good experience go to A&E in any major hospital on a Friday or Saturday night. Quite unbelievable view of the human race.

I agree with this and was reluctant to go myself just for an ankle injury. I called health direct for advice as didn’t want to waste anyone’s time - after describing the injury and symptoms the lovely nurse laughed and said “you’re not wasting anyone’s time if you have a fractured ankle” and directed me to attend ED.

I attended Joondalup hospital and one of the nurses said they sometimes have people waiting 7 hours and she felt the bigger hospitals (eg Royal Perth Hospital) can be quicker 

You’re also correct, it’s been at least 15 years since I attended ED in Scotland so it isn’t a fair comparison to make.

Edited by MacGyver

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11 hours ago, Paul1Perth said:

I don't think private health cover would improve a visit to any ED. Depends on the hospital and your condition for wait times. An ankle injury isn't going to kill you and there may be more urgent cases coming in that kept bumping you.

I swallowed a bee that stung my throat once. By the time I got home I could hardly breathe. My wife sent me to ED and as soon as they realised I had problems breathing I was in and being treated in minutes.

Another time I'd hurt ribs in the gym. Put up with them for a couple of weeks but couldn't sleep and coughing, sneezing or even turning round quick was really painful. Thought I'd pop to ED at the hospital near work, which is big and busy. As soon as I mentioned chest pain I was in and wired up to all sorts of machines. Even though I told them I'd done it at the gym a couple of weeks before😁

Next time just say you have chest pain then mention the ankle when you're on the right side of the door.

And this is why you have long waits in ED. Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.

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9 hours ago, Toots said:

I've never had to attend an Emergency Dept but read about long waiting times in the media.  However, I just looked up Launceston General and this is stated:  25 Mar 2021 — The time within which 90% of presentations were seen was 1 hour and 32 minutes. 50% of patients were seen within 17 minutes, which was faster than waiting times for previous four years. 

Our local hospital - the Mersey Hospital's emergency dept was closed in the evenings but I note it is now open 24 hours.  Staffing was a problem last year.

I think it very much depends on how large the hospital is and which area it's in.

This is the thing isn't it though. Seen by, isn't the same as dealt with. You can be assessed not long after arrival, and then go into the next queue. You can be seen shortly after arrival, but then spend hours on a bed waiting to be treated. I would much prefer them to measure the time between arrival and discharge/admittance.

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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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9 hours ago, newjez said:

This is the thing isn't it though. Seen by, isn't the same as dealt with. You can be assessed not long after arrival, and then go into the next queue. You can be seen shortly after arrival, but then spend hours on a bed waiting to be treated. I would much prefer them to measure the time between arrival and discharge/admittance.

That's true, I was "seen" two minutes after walking in the door and triaged by a nurse. It was several hours later before I was taken through. I'm not complaining as I know my injury was minor, others needed quicker treatment and the staff were extremely busy, I was just curious if the wait times were standard.

The staff were wonderful and I feel sorry for them given the pressures on the system they operate within. Quite topical at the moment given the poor young girl that died at Perth children's Hospital and discussions around systemic issues (rather than individual staff members) that led to it. 

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Wait times at EDs will vary a lot depending on how busy they are.  I dropped a knife on my foot one Friday tea time, about 5 - 5:30 ish and couldn't move my toe so got my OH to take me to the ED.  There was no one else in the waiting room and I went through almost immediately and got seen by various nurses and Drs very quickly.  They identified I'd severed the tendon, booked me in for surgery the next day and then it was just a wait for a bed in the hospital and as I was waiting I could see the place getting busier and busier until they had to put me in a kind of holding area to free up space for all the people they needed to treat.  If we didn't eat so early and I'd gone in an hour or so later I would have had to wait much longer before being seen, and possibly had to wait an extra day for surgery (was the last on the list the following day due to other, more pressing, cases).

The moral of the story is if you are going to get a relatively minor injury that requires a trip to ED try and do it at a time when no one else is around 🤪

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9 hours ago, newjez said:

This is the thing isn't it though. Seen by, isn't the same as dealt with. You can be assessed not long after arrival, and then go into the next queue. You can be seen shortly after arrival, but then spend hours on a bed waiting to be treated. I would much prefer them to measure the time between arrival and discharge/admittance.

I see.  

Luckily I have never had to go to an ED department so have no experience of how they process any people who turn up for treatment.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Toots said:

I see.  

Luckily I have never had to go to an ED department so have no experience of how they process any people who turn up for treatment.

Usually you wait for half an hour. Then you get seen by someone who asks you the details and assesses the problem. They may take your blood pressure etc. Then you either go back to your chair or go through to a bed if you are lucky, and wait for hours. Technically, you were seen within an hour of arrival and they have met the target. It's all games. Not saying you shouldn't be assessed. That is important. But deliberately trying to get around targets is misleading. It's like that Welsh ambulance service that couldn't meet their pick up targets. They changed the way they measure them. That doesn't actually help anyone.

Edited by newjez
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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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2 hours ago, NicF said:

Wait times at EDs will vary a lot depending on how busy they are.  I dropped a knife on my foot one Friday tea time, about 5 - 5:30 ish and couldn't move my toe so got my OH to take me to the ED.  There was no one else in the waiting room and I went through almost immediately and got seen by various nurses and Drs very quickly.  They identified I'd severed the tendon, booked me in for surgery the next day and then it was just a wait for a bed in the hospital and as I was waiting I could see the place getting busier and busier until they had to put me in a kind of holding area to free up space for all the people they needed to treat.  If we didn't eat so early and I'd gone in an hour or so later I would have had to wait much longer before being seen, and possibly had to wait an extra day for surgery (was the last on the list the following day due to other, more pressing, cases).

The moral of the story is if you are going to get a relatively minor injury that requires a trip to ED try and do it at a time when no one else is around 🤪

I nearly did that. We have these really sharp knives, and it would have done some serious damage. Question, do you leave the blade in or take it out in that situation?


Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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17 hours ago, DrDougster said:

And this is why you have long waits in ED. Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Why? They diagnosed broken ribs and dislocated ribs from my sternum. Said I should have gone to hospital straight away.

They gave me free painkillers and anti inflammatories which worked wonders.

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4 hours ago, MacGyver said:

That's true, I was "seen" two minutes after walking in the door and triaged by a nurse. It was several hours later before I was taken through. I'm not complaining as I know my injury was minor, others needed quicker treatment and the staff were extremely busy, I was just curious if the wait times were standard.

The staff were wonderful and I feel sorry for them given the pressures on the system they operate within. Quite topical at the moment given the poor young girl that died at Perth children's Hospital and discussions around systemic issues (rather than individual staff members) that led to it. 

I find it amazing they can spend millions on fancy buildings and computer systems and then reckon they don't have the money to staff them appropriately.

More nurses, with zero training in technology sat behind computer terminals than nursing.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Paul1Perth said:

I find it amazing they can spend millions on fancy buildings and computer systems and then reckon they don't have the money to staff them appropriately.

More nurses, with zero training in technology sat behind computer terminals than nursing.

Would you have them treating people in a tent recording with chalk and blackboards? You're at risk of becoming a Victor meldrew Paul.

A&E suffer from the same problem as many organisations that they need to cover a peak which is much higher than their low.

If we cut down on alcohol consumption we would have a better A&E service.

Edited by newjez
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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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3 hours ago, newjez said:

Would you have them treating people in a tent recording with chalk and blackboards? You're at risk of becoming a Victor meldrew Paul.

A&E suffer from the same problem as many organisations that they need to cover a peak which is much higher than their low.

If we cut down on alcohol consumption we would have a better A&E service.

You only need to watch the Ambulance documentary's to see how much time is taken up with Mental Health calls that paramedics can do nothing about other than transport them to Emergency. More needs to be done in the sector as it too has a huge knock on affect to A & E times and Ambulance availability.

 Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

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