groupClare Searson and Laura Harris

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Emergency departments are dedicated hospital-based facilities specifically designed and staffed to provide 24-hour emergency care. The role of the emergency department is to diagnose and treat acute and urgent illnesses and injuries (Independent Hospital Pricing Authority [IHPA] 2019a). Annually, there is an increasing demand on emergency departments in Australian public hospitals. The average emergency department presentation growth from 2013-14 to 2017-18 was 2.7% per annum, which surpasses the average growth of the population over the same period. Total emergency department presentations have increased 11% over the past 5 years, and in the 2017-18 financial year presentations exceeded 8 million (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW] 2018a, p.4).

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