​New, lenient targets not the answer for ailing ED


Under the ACT Labor-Greens Government, Canberra patients continue to wait longer than anywhere else in the country for emergency hospital treatment. Now, the government has flagged a shift to new and more lenient waiting time targets.

Under the proposed new targets, ED will aim to discharge 80 percent of patients within four hours, an easing from the current target of 90 percent.

Presently, the ACT is only discharging 57 percent of patients within this timeframe.

Admission targets are also proposed to be eased, with the a new target of just 60 percent of patients admitted within four hours and 90 percent of patients admitted within eight hours.

However, in January, the Minister for Health said her goal was to have 70 percent of ED patients seen within four hours by October this year.

Shadow Minister for Health, Giulia Jones, said these new targets will mean more of the same, long waits.

“Moving the goal posts and changing definitions to be more lenient is a distraction from the actual changes that are needed to the health system,” Mrs Jones said.

“The onus is on the Minister to explain to the community exactly how this will achieve better and more timely outcomes for patients.

“The ACT has for too long been the worst performer of any state or territory when it comes to ED waiting times. Even under these revised targets, the Labor-Greens Government has little chance of success.

“Rather than wishful thinking and more lenient targets, the government needs to address the underlying issue of underperformance of our hospital system in the face of Canberra’s growing and ageing population,” Mrs Jones concluded.