Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

adverse events in Australia's public hospitals « Previous | |Next »
September 26, 2008

Finally it is coming out-----adverse events in the health system that are preventable. The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine has said that research shows that overcrowding and delays in moving patients from emergency departments to a hospital bed caused 1500 extra deaths nationally.The claim is that more people die from hospital overcrowding and admission logjams than in road accidents. This is not the kind of news that state politicians want to be made public.

The claims have escalated into a furious row between senior doctors and the SA state government. In SA a senior emergency specialist, Tony Eliseo, claimed the crisis was costing 150 lives a year in SA alone, rivalling the road toll. John Hill, the Minister of Health, is outraged and rejects any comparison between road toll and hospital-related deaths. Pure theory put about by academics is his rather implausible response.

If it is 150 deaths in SA, then how many die in WA from access blocking and overcrowding?

“Access block” is defined as the situation where patients are unable to gain access to appropriate hospital beds within a reasonable amount of time, no greater than 8 hours. “Overcrowding” refers to the situation where Emergency Department (ED) function is impeded by the number of patients waiting to be seen, undergoing assessment and treatment, or waiting for departure, exceeding the physical or staffing capacity of the department.

The literature review undertaken by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine states that:

The most vulnerable individuals affected by access block and ED [emergency department] overcrowding are those who due to their medical conditions require unplanned admissions to hospital. The most common groups include: the elderly, particularly those with chronic and complex conditions; people
arriving by ambulance; people visiting EDs after hours or on week-ends; children and parents of
young children; mental health patients; drug and alcohol patients; nursing home patients;
people without social support; patients with medical conditions exacerbated by seasonal
changes; people with painful conditions; the undiagnosed critically ill; seriously-ill patients who
leave without being seen by a doctor; and patients who are inappropriately discharged from
hospital in order to increase bed availability.

Access blocking and overcrowding result from there being not enough available beds to meet demand.
ED overcrowding. This is associated with significant mortality and human suffering.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:41 PM |