Emergency room waiting times have improved in metropolitan areas, but regional hospitals are not seeing the same drop.
National Health Performance Authority figures say the amount of time it takes hospitals to treat patients who present to emergency departments dropped by least 10 per cent in 18 major metropolitan hospitals from 2012-2013.
Out of the more than 100 hospitals surveyed, only five regional hospitals reported a 10 per cent drop.
Performance Authorities CEO Doctor Diane Watson says the overall results are still positive.
“Regional hospital performance is higher than city hospitals, but is remaining steady across time,” she said.
The Commonwealth and State governments set up a four-hour benchmark for patients being treated after arriving at an emergency department.
Dr Watson says while the regional improvements do not mirror those in metropolitan areas, given the overall increase in patient numbers, it is a good result.
“There are very impressive improvements at some city hospitals,” she said.
“For example, 18 major metropolitan hospitals [showed] improvements in 10 or more percentage points. This is thousands and thousands of people, at the same time [as] these emergency departments are seeing increasing numbers of people.”
Earlier this year the Australian Medical Association (AMA) said many hospitals were struggling and not enough were meeting targets set for emergency department and elective surgery wait times.