In Health

Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames

Third Wave Of Hospitals Join Four Hour Rule

Victor P Taffa

The Western Australia State Government’s innovative Four Hour Rule Program, to improve the way hospital patients receive unplanned and emergency care, has now gone State-wide.

Albany, Broome, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland, Nickol Bay (in Karratha) and King Edward Memorial hospitals and Peel Health Campus officially start the program today.

The Four Hour Rule Program is being implemented across Western Australian hospitals to ensure that the majority of patients arriving at emergency departments (EDs) are admitted, discharged or transferred within a four-hour timeframe, unless required to remain with the ED for clinical reasons.



Health Minister Kim Hames said the State Government had invested more than $20 Million to improve emergency department capacity to implement the program, which had since been adopted nationally.

The Minister said all three stages of the program were now under way which would benefit patients across WA.

“Each hospital has been given two years to implement the major change process and I am pleased with the progress so far.” Dr. Hames said.

“Staff are rolling-out a range of initiatives which will continue to improve waiting times and patients’ experiences in our public hospitals.”

“As more of our hospitals come on line, I look forward to more positive results.” the Minister said.

Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner, Princess Margaret and Fremantle hospitals were the first WA hospitals to start the program in April 2009.

Interim figures released last month showed 30 % more patients arriving at those EDs were now being seen, admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours compared to the same time the previous year.

“We have already seen progress towards our interim targets and there have been marked improvements in ambulance ramping and access block, where patients waited for a bed for more than eight hours.” Dr. Hames said.

Rockingham General Hospital, Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital, Swan District Hospital and Bunbury Regional hospitals and Joondalup Health Campus, that began the program in October 2009, had started to develop solutions to improve patient care.

Dr. Hames said staff across WA Health had been working hard to provide the best possible services and improve in-hospital care.

“This program has involved an enormous effort from our hospital staff.” the Minister said.

“Even while faced with increasing demand for services, the progress so far has demonstrated that WA is leading the way in reducing patient waiting times, while maintaining the highest standards of patient safety, and I am confident of its ongoing success.”


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