Targets for ED waiting times saves lives

One News reports:

A patient turned up to 's Middlemore Hospital's emergency department on Wednesday – then left because of long wait times – has now died.

New Zealand's busiest hospital has launched an urgent investigation into the death of a patient who presented at ED and later died in intensive care.

National introduced a target of 95% of ED patients being seen within six hours. Independent research has credited this with savings hundreds and hundreds of lives. Previously only 80% were seen within six hours.

This was basically achieved in 2017 with 94% seen within six hours. By 2019 (so pre covid) it had dropped to 84% after Labour dumped the target.

What is it now? Well the has made it almost impossible to know. You have to OIA every DHB individually. But did OIA Mid Central Health for May 2022, and they revealed that only 53% were being seen within six hours. And the same OIA reveals that the number of ED presentations hasn't significantly increased.

So while we don't know the factors leading to this individual dying, we do know having a target for ED waiting times saved hundreds of lives, and that since Labour scrapped the targets only half are being seen within six hours.

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