Wednesday, December 24, 2008

trying to limit wait times in British govt hospitals

From Ronald Bailey in Reason...

Facing lengthening waits at hospitals, the British government has set a targeted turnaround time of four hours from arrival in an emergency room to treatment by a medical professional. Apparently this standard has proven too stringent...

The Guardian reports that U.K. emergency rooms are meeting the four-hour goal through a simple, quintessentially British expedient: queuing. Thousands of seriously ill patients have been forced to wait outside of emergency departments in ambulances before they can be admitted, thus delaying the start of the four-hour timer...stuck in ambulances for as long as five hours...

In U.S. emergency rooms, the average length of time it takes a patient to see a doctor has increased from 22 minutes to 30 minutes during the last decade. In non-urban hospitals, the wait averages just 15 minutes. And there’s no extra waiting in the ambulances outside.


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