Emergency departments are a critical component of Australia's health-care system, providing care for patients who require urgent attention. This report presents information on the Australian public hospitals that have purpose-built emergency departments staffed 24 hours a day, which reported to the National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database. Data for 2015–16 for the Australian Capital Territory were not available at the time of publication.
In 2015–16, there were 7.5 million presentations to emergency departments across Australia (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), or more than 20,000 presentations each day.
Between 2011–12 and 2015–16, presentations to emergency departments increased by 3.8% on average each year. After adjusting for coverage changes (including the absence of data for the Australian Capital Territory for 2015–16), it is estimated that presentations increased by about 2.7% on average each year.
In 2015–16, people who used emergency department services most commonly were aged 15–24 years and 25–34 years (13.7% and 13.8% respectively). Patients aged 65 years and over (who make up about 15% of the population) accounted for about 20% of emergency department presentations in 2015–16.