Improving Patient Flow in Queensland Public Hospitals



Hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) are designed and resourced to be the first point of call for patients requiring urgent medical care. Since 2011-12, demand for ED services in Australia has outpaced population growth – culminating in over 8.8 million ED patient presentations in 2020-2021. EDs are impacted by several significant challenges leading to delays in patient flow. While demand for ED services is a contributor – EDs do not operate in isolation and are impacted by factors across the entire health system.

EMF is collaborating with Queensland Health’s Healthcare Improvement Unit at Clinical Excellence Queensland on a large research program to find effective and evidence-based solutions to improve patient flow in Queensland’s public hospitals. The research program is jointly funded by EMF and Queensland Health and consists of two parallel approaches.


1. Study to analyse patient flow in Queensland Hospitals

EMF is funding a broad, whole-of-system study to systematically establish the magnitude of factors leading to challenges with emergency access in Queensland public hospitals. The aim of the study is to establish an evidence base for factors leading to access block and use this evidence base to identify system-wide and local solutions to improve emergency access across the state. The findings will inform a set of recommendations to Queensland Health in implementing solutions that are practical and actionable.

This project is being undertaken by a team of clinicians and researchers from the CSIRO Australian e-Health Research Centre, the Queensland Ambulance Service, The University of Queensland, the Gold Coast University Hospital, and the Princess Alexandra Hospital. You can read more about the study here.


2. Special Funding Round 

EMF ran a competitive Special Funding Round to support clinician-led projects that aim to improve patient flow and reduce crowding across Queensland hospitals. These projects aim for efficiencies in admission and discharge processes, treatment protocols, and pre- and out-of-hospital care. Read about the Special Funding Round and the successful projects here.

Successful projects: Special Funding Round – Improving Patient Flow in Queensland Public Hospitals:

Principal Investigator (PI)
Project Title
PI Institution
Ms Andrea Hetherington Paeds with a wheeze – Improving patient flow with Nurse Led Stretching of Inhaled Salbutamol The Prince Charles Hospital
Ms Jessica Christie Criteria Led Discharge from Emergency Department Short Stay Unit Redcliffe Hospital
A/Prof Manaan Kar Ray SAFE STEPS – SAFE and Seamless Transition through Enhanced Proactive Support Princess Alexandra Hospital
Dr Wayne Loudon optimiSed pAtient Flow using prEhoSpital Triage (SAFEST) Queensland Ambulance Service

Should you have any questions please contact the EMF Research Team on (07) 3720 5700 or email


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