The emergency department or casualty department of a hospital provides the community with necessary health care for the acutely ill and injured. Most operate 24 hours a day.
All patients attending emergency departments are ‘triaged’ or assessed for urgency. The first priority is to treat the most urgent patients.
There are five triage categories that have been established by the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, these categories indicate the desirable time within which patients should be treated. The Government sets targets for hospitals for the three most urgent triage categories.