Age distribution of emergency department presentations in Victoria Academic Article uri icon


  • To describe patterns of ED utilisation over time, by patient age group and triage classification.Secondary analysis of data from all patients presenting to EDs in Victoria utilising the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD) for the years 2002-2013. The VEMD includes all hospitals in Victoria with 24 h EDs.The absolute number of presentations to EDs in Victoria has grown by over 52% in the last 11 years. The triage categories of highest urgency (1-3) grew by 89% whereas the categories of lowest urgency (4-5) grew by 33%. Over this period, the 5 year age band with the greatest number of ED presentations has consistently been, by far, children 0-4 years of age. This age group has seen an increase of 29% in ED presentations overall with a >55% increase in Triage 1-3, and an increase of 16% in triage 4-5. For all age groups, there has been little change in the number of triage category 4-5 presentations since 2007/2008. However, for triage categories 1-3, there have been consistent increases in presentations across all age groups.The age range with the greatest absolute number of ED presentations in Victoria is children 0-4 years of age. This finding is consistent over time and across all triage classifications. The age range with the second highest absolute number of ED presentations is comprised of those 20-24 years of age. This is in contrast to the frequent public attention placed on the volume of ED presentations by the elderly.

publication date

  • 2015