Broken Hill Hospital Emergency Department to trial quicker triage system

The Broken Hill hospital Emergency Department (ED) will trial a new triage system to speed up the time the sickest patients are seen for treatment.

The trial – called ‘EDRaPT: Emergency Department Rapid Patient Treatment’ – will modify the triage system currently used in the hospital’s ED where people presenting in the ED will see a triage nurse first instead of a clerk.

All emergency departments operate what is called a triage system. When a person arrives in the ED they are assessed by a nurse and triaged on the basis of the speed with which they need medical attention. People are allocated a triaged category depending on how sick they are, not the order that they arrived in the ED.

“It is very important that this first assessment happens quickly so people who are sicker are seen quickly,” said Peter Ballard, Nurse Unit Manager of the Emergency Department and ICU.

“At the moment, we are aware that it can sometimes take too long to see the triage nurse when a person arrives at the ED. This is something that we need to improve,” he said. “To do this, the ED at the Broken Hill Hospital will be trying a few different ways of making sure triage happens quickly”.

From 2 to 8 November during the trial, the triage nurse will start seeing people as they present to the ED window. This rapid triage will be done across the desk in most cases. If there is an issue that requires privacy or a more detailed assessment, the nurse may still take the person into the triage room near the waiting room, but in most cases, the rapid triage will be done over the front desk.

“We will also be trying a few different ways of setting up the beds and chairs in the ED, to see if we can more quickly provide the care people need,” said Mr Ballard.

The outcomes of the trial will be assessed as the health service continues to improve access to care.

The public are welcome to provide feedback about their experiences while using the ED during the trial period. Anyone with any concerns is invited to contact Peter Ballard on 08 8080 1378 or email


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