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Emergency care

Emergency Departments (EDs) are dedicated hospital-based facilities specifically designed and staffed to provide 24 hour emergency care. The role of the ED is to diagnose and treat acute and urgent illnesses and injuries. Patients are seen in order of medical urgency with non-urgent patients being seen after more acute patients.

On arrival in the ED, patients are assessed by a clinician and given a triage score. A triage score is a ranking from one to five (one being the most urgent and five being non-urgent) used to prioritise or classify patients on the basis of illness or injury severity and need for medical and nursing care. During the treatment phase of their time in ED patients are assessed by a clinician, a diagnosis is made and treatment is given, if required.

Public hospitals in Australia group patient presentations to emergency care services to the Urgency Related Groups (URGs) or Urgency Disposition Groups (UDGs) classification systems. 

IHPA has developed a new classification for emergency care, the Australian Emergency Care Classification (AECC), to replace the URG classification system.

AECC Version 1.0

The development of the AECC has been undertaken through a robust process that included review and oversight by IHPA's advisory committees, a national costing project, a publication and a national workshop.

The AECC has a statistically strong performance, provides scope for using additional variables, and can be used for purposes other than funding including health service planning and research.

AECC Final Report

AECC Definitions Manual

Key links

Key documents

Document PDF Word
Emergency department diagnosis edits  
Definitions of emergency services for ABF
Investigative review of classification systems for emergency care