Emergency Department Wait Times vary depending on time of day, location of the hospital and priority category you are assigned. The most seriously ill or injured patients will always be seen first.

**Scroll to the bottom of this page to see current Emergency Department Waiting Times at your nearest hospitals.

What is the least busy time to go to the emergency room?

The least busy time to visit the emergency room are early mornings, particularly between 3am and 6:00am.

How long is the Accident and Emergency (A&E) wait?

The national median emergency wait time in Australian public hospitals was 19 minutes during the year 2018-19. The Median emergency wait time is defined as the time within which half of all patients received emergency clinical care in Australian public hospitals.

Emergency department aim for a stay of 4 hours or less, for all patients presenting to a public hospital emergency department. For information on time spent in the emergency departments by National and State and territory click here.

Why do ER doctors take so long?

The reasons for emergency department waits to see a doctor are complicated. There are several factors which include:

  • the degree of urgency
  • the time taken to diagnose the patient
  • waiting on results of x-rays, scans, blood test, etc. depending on injury or illness
  • emergency situations because of multiple car crashes, natural disasters, & disease outbreaks which can produce multiple patients with major trauma. These cases may be assigned the highest levels of urgency and are prioritized over other patients in triage at the hospital.
  • Busy timings like night times, after hours, public holidays and weekends, and when there aren’t enough emergency staff may lead to longer wait times to see a doctor

emergency department in hospital

What are the busiest days for hospital emergency departments?

In general, the busiest days for hospital emergency departments are public holidays and weekends but a natural disaster or multiple car crashes can also make a hospital emergency department busy.

Can A&E turn you away?

Hospitals Emergency departments will never turn away people with serious and life-threatening illness and injuries. The triage nurse has advanced training to assess your condition and determine the urgency. The most seriously ill and critically ill will always be seen first.

However, you need to let the triage know:

  • If your condition gets worse
  • If you think your condition should be treated by your doctor
  • If you decide not to wait

To access information on the number of presentations to public hospital Emergency departments reported between 2015-16 to 2019-20  click here.