When is a patient counted as being admitted to hospital?
A patient is admitted when hospital staff decide that patient requires same day, overnight or multi-day care in hospital.
What happens in hospital emergency departments?
When a patient arrives at an emergency department they are assessed for treatment by hospital staff, usually a nurse. They are assigned an urgency category (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means immediate treatment) and then provided with care/treatment in the emergency department. Depending on patient need, they are either discharged home after their care in the emergency department, transferred to another hospital for treatment, or admitted to hospital.
Do I need an appointment to go to an emergency department?
No. You cannot book an appointment with a hospital emergency department or emergency department doctor. Emergency departments see all patients who arrive, and patients are treated based on their urgency needs. This means that patients are not necessarily treated in the order that they arrive, and there may be a wait.
How do I find my local emergency department?
A list of emergency departments is available here: Health service directory
Other help numbers: Emergency: 000, Nurse on Call: 1300 606 024, Lifeline: 131114, Poisons Information Centre: 131126.
What are the emergency department triage urgency categories?
All patients attending emergency departments are ‘triaged’ or assessed for urgency, and categorised as follows:
- Triage category 1 (need for resuscitation): requires treatment immediately, for example a patient who has stopped breathing.
- Triage category 2 (emergency): requires treatment within 10 minutes, for example a patient with chest pain likely related to a heart attack.
- Triage category 3 (urgent): requires treatment within 30 minutes, for example a patient with a major fracture or major bleeding.
- Triage category 4 (semi-urgent): requires treatment within 1 hour, for example a patient with mild bleeding or a sprained ankle.
- Triage category 5 (non-urgent): requires treatment within 2 hours, for example a patient with a rash or minor aches and pains.
Statewide targets for the top four urgency categories are:
- Triage category 1: 100% of patients treated immediately
What is an elective surgery waiting list?
Each Victorian health service or hospital has its own waiting list for elective surgery – surgery that can wait more than 24 hours. Patients who need emergency treatment will not be placed on an elective surgery waiting list.
Where can I find more information on elective surgery?
For more information: Better Health Channel, Surgery
What are elective surgery urgency categories?
When a patient is assessed by a surgeon as requiring elective surgery, they are categorised as:
- Category 1 (urgent): treatment within 30 days
- Category 2 (semi-urgent): treatment within 90 days
- Category 3 (non-urgent): treatment within 12 months.
They are then placed on a hospital-based wait list.
How do I get on the elective surgery waiting list?
You will need to be referred to a surgeon by your GP or other doctor. Once you see the surgeon, they will place you on a hospital’s waiting list if they determine that elective surgery is required.
How long do I have to wait for surgery?
Waiting times vary based on a range of factors including, but not limited to, the type of surgery you require and how urgent it is, your availability and your surgeon’s availability. Changing demand for hospital services like increased hospital admissions over winter, may impact waiting times.
Can I be referred to the hospital of my choice for elective surgery?
You will need to discuss this with your GP or other referring doctor.
Can you transfer between waiting lists at different hospitals?
Yes. If you are already on a waiting list at a hospital, you can be transferred to another hospital's waiting list. You will need to discuss this with the hospital where you are listed for surgery.
I don’t think I need surgery anymore, what should I do?
Contact the hospital where you are listed for surgery and follow their instructions.
When do I need to be ready for surgery?
When you are placed on a hospital’s waiting list, it is assumed that you are ready and available for surgery. Should an unforeseen circumstance occur, or additional medical treatment be required before your surgery, please contact your hospital. Your position on the waiting list will be held until you advise the hospital that you are ready.
How many public dentists are there in Victoria and where are they located?
There are public dental services located right across the state. Find out more: Dental Health Services Victoria
Who is eligible for public dental treatment in Victoria?
- All children aged 0–12
- Teenagers aged 13–17 with concession/Health Care cards, or who are dependants of adults with concession/pensioner/Health Care cards
- Teenagers up to 18 who are in residential care provided by the Department of Health and Human Services or in custodial care
- Refugees and asylum seekers.
Find out more: Dental Health Services Victoria
What is priority access for dental services?
Some eligible Victorians are provided with priority access – and the next available appointment – for public dental care. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, children and young people, homeless people, pregnant women, clients of mental health and disability services.
Find out more: Dental Health Services Victoria
What is the definition of waiting time used on this website?
Definitions differ as follows:
- Emergency department waiting time: Time in minutes from when a patient presented at the emergency department, to when they were first seen by a nurse or a doctor for treatment.
- Elective surgery waiting time: Time in days from when the patient was listed for elective surgery, to the date they were admitted to hospital for surgery (excluding not-ready-for-surgery days).
- Dental care waiting time: Time in days from when the patient was placed on the waiting list, to the date of the first appointment offered by the service.
Public and private patients
I have private health insurance, does that make a difference to the care I receive?
Public hospitals treat patients according to medical urgency. Having private health insurance, or being willing to pay for elective surgery, does not impact your position on a public hospital’s elective surgery waiting list. Some private health insurance plans may allow you to choose your doctor/surgeon at a hospital, but there may also be costs involved. Please contact your private health insurer for more information.
Where can I get more information about mental health services in Victoria?
Mental Health Advice Line: 1300 280 737
- health.vic – Mental health
What is seclusion in the context of mental health hospital inpatients?
Mental health hospital inpatients are only confined to a room or area they cannot leave as a last resort. Doctors determine when seclusion is needed for patient and/or staff safety, and duration of time varies. The Mental Health Act 2014 defines seclusion as ‘the sole confinement of a person at any hour of the day or night in a room of which the doors and windows are locked from the outside’. All seclusion events must meet the legal and clinical requirements.
Healthcare data quality and accuracy
The results for my service don’t look correct, who can I speak to?
The results contained on this site are derived from data submitted by Victorian public health services to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Victorian Agency for Health Information is responsible for data quality and accuracy. If you believe that data contained on this site is incorrect, please email email@example.com and we will follow up your query.
Healthcare data collection
What is the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey?
Feedback from patients is important for providing patient-centred care. The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) asks patients about their experiences during their stay at a Victorian public health service. Results are provided to health services each quarter and are used to identify areas for improvement.
What is the People Matter Survey?
An annual survey of staff employed by Victoria’s public health services.
Find out more: People Matter Survey
Victoria’s health services, hospitals and quality
What's the difference between a health service and a hospital?
- Health service: An overall organisation that provides health care. In Victoria, some health services run multiple hospitals and different services, such as Monash Health.
- Hospital: An individual hospital, which may have more than one location, such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Where can I get more information about quality and safety in healthcare?
Find out more: Better Safer Care
About this website
Who will find this website useful?
The site is designed to provide information on hospital and health service performance to the Victorian community in a way that is clear and easy to understand. In addition, the information is valuable for Victorian health service and hospital administrators, health system leaders and professionals, health practitioners and researchers.
Who created this website?
The Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI). Find out more: About VAHI
How often is the data updated?
Results on this website are updated quarterly, unless otherwise specified.
Does this website include information about all health services in Victoria?
No. Results are provided from available public health system datasets only. Private hospitals are included in the hospital directory, but no performance or activity information is given for them.
Will more data be added in future?
This website is being developed in stages. Over time, VAHI will add significantly more data and information to this site to enable Victorian health service and hospital administrators, health system leaders and professionals, health practitioners, researchers and members of the Victorian community to get a full picture of health system and sector performance.
How can I provide feedback on my experience of using this website?
VAHI is continuously looking for ways to improve the information and services we provide. To provide feedback on your experience of using this website, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Need more information about Victoria’s public health data?
- Emergency Department wait time