The increased presence of consultant staff should theoretically lead to better outcomes in Emergency Departments.
Objective: A significant increase of consultant medical staff in four years in one emergency department allowed this hypothesis to be examined.
Design: A retrospective observational study was conducted in a tertiary paediatric emergency department over a ten year period documenting trends in percentage of children admitted, complaints to the department and average waiting times. Consultant numbers increased from 2.6 to 6.2 Full Time Equivalent between 2000 and 2004. Other staffing numbers were essentially unchanged.
Results: All parameters examined improved coincident with increasing consultant numbers. The percentage of children admitted decreased 27%; complaints fell 41% and the average waiting time by 15%. The yearly cost of an additional 3.6 consultants (2005) was $A 1,003,490 with net saving to the hospital over $A 9.48 M.
Conclusion: Provision of additional consultant medical staff in a paediatric emergency department coincided with a decrease in the percentage of children admitted, complaints to the department and average waiting times and was cost effective.
- cost effective
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