Media Release 20/9/2022

National Health Scorecard

National Health Scorecard, an initiative undertaken by Australian Patients Association, focusing on three performance indicators – Ambulance Response wait times, Emergency Department wait times and Elective Surgery wait times – has found data hard to access and often lagging real-time events.

The scorecard, prepared by the Australian Patients Association, reported that finding reliable, comparable and timely data for these healthcare performance indicators was a challenge.

The Chief Executive Officer of the APA, Stephen Mason, said the aim of the scorecard was to hold all Australian states and territories accountable and responsible for the quality of their healthcare delivery.

“We aimed to shine a light on the areas of need,” he said.

“What we found was that triaging categories for ambulance response varied across states and territories, and that performance data was not readily available. In some cases, there was six months delay or more.”

“There was also inconsistency in data collection and an example was median response times and percentage of patients treated on time were not comparable.”

“We also found that data on patient experience was limited and subjective.”

“This is not good enough and needs to be addressed if we are to get a clear picture of areas of need.”

Mr Mason said the three areas examined helped present a broad benchmark.

“Ambulance Response is often the first point of contact in critical medical situations. Measuring response times by clinical urgency indicates how our system’s effectiveness from when a call is received to the ambulance’s arrival at the scene,” he said.

“Measuring Emergency Department wait times against their triaging benchmarks offers insights into the efficiency of emergency department care in hospitals.”

“And elective surgery, whilst not urgent, is often a lifesaving intervention.”

“Measuring wait times per category indicates when a better quality of life can be accessed upon treatment initiation.

“Wait times indicate how the COVID-19 pandemic and resource shortages have affected the access to these procedures and ultimately population health outcomes.”

Mr Mason said the scorecard put a spotlight on areas that needed attention to improve patient health outcomes.

“This is a good start, but collection needs to be consistent across jurisdictions and be more readily available,” he said.

“We need to work together to get the information we need to improve our health system.”

For further information contact: Stephen Mason Ph: 0408 944 859 or Office: 03 9274 0788