Providing people with access to timely, safe and quality emergency care

Emergency departments are under increasing pressure due to the high demand for access to emergency services. Emergency departments are often the first contact many patients and their relatives or carers have with a hospital.

A fundamental part of the provision of emergency care in NSW hospitals is ensuring that the right patient is in the right place for the care they require and that the right resources are available for that care to be delivered. This is with the understanding that the Emergency department may not always be the best place for patients to receive their care.

​The ideal emergency department (ED) patient journey

NSW Health is committed to delivering services so that 81% of people presenting to a public hospital emergency department will either physically leave the ED for admission to hospital, be referred to another hospital for treatment or be discharged within 4 hours.

For this to occur, the emergency department, the whole of the hospital and all community health services are required to work together to ensure there are no delays for patients receiving their care in the emergency department. The following diagram demonstrates how patients move through the various parts of the emergency department models of care and are then admitted to an inpatient ward, transferred to another facility or discharged home.

ED patient journey, please refer "NSW Emergency Department Models of Care" PDF within this page for text description.

The Emergency Care Institute of NSW (ECI) supports clinicians, Local Health Districts and the system to improve outcomes for patients presenting to emergency departments across NSW through collaboration, communication, reducing variation in clinical practice, research and knowledge sharing. The ECI website has more information on emergency care in NSW.

Information and resources are available about:

NSW Health policies relating to emergency Care are:

Current as at: Thursday 13 May 2021
Contact page owner: System Purchasing