The Herald reports:
Thousands of lives are believed to have been saved by a six-hour wait time target for hospital emergency departments, which researchers say has helped halve the number of ED patient deaths.
Findings released today in the New Zealand Medical Journal also reveal that EDs are running more efficiently than before the Government introduced the target in 2009 – patients are now waiting around three hours less to be admitted to a ward.
The findings have been heralded as “extraordinary” by researchers.
This shows the importance of focusing on outcomes, rather than just inputs or spending. Labour go on and on with their claims that health spending has not kept pace with inflation and population (in fact it has) and rail against what they call artificial targets.
But the reality is under Labour only 70% of people in ED got dealt with in under six hours, and now it is 94%. And that change is deemed responsible for saving thousands of lives.
The study analysed nearly 5.8 million ED presentations between 2006 and 2012 and more than two million elective admissions from 18 DHBs.
It calculated a 57 per cent drop in ED patient deaths and 28 per cent less crowding in emergency departments.
Patients were waiting an hour less to be admitted to ED and nearly three hours less to be admitted to a hospital ward.
But the most dramatic finding was the significant fall in mortality among ED patients, equating to 700 fewer deaths in 2012 alone, Ardagh said. “This is an extraordinary finding.”
He labelled the reduced waiting times an “important and useful intervention in New Zealand health care”.
That is equivalent to eliminating the road toll twice over.