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Keywords:

  • Australasian Triage Scale;
  • casemix;
  • National Triage Scale;
  • performance indicators;
  • triage

Abstract

Objective  To assess the impact of the change from the National Triage Scale (NTS) to the Australasian Triage Scale (ATS) within a hospital ED.

Methods  A retrospective audit of consecutive adult patients attending the ED of Auckland Hospital from July to September 2001, during which patients were triaged according to the NTS, were compared with patients triaged according to the ATS during July to September 2002.

Results  In total, 8715 patients attended the department during July to September 2001 compared with 9047 patients during July to September 2002. There was a significant shift in the triage ratios with patient number increases of 28 and 24% in triage categories two and three, respectively, and decreases of 15 and 67% in categories four and five, respectively.

Conclusions  The revision of the ATS has had a significant impact on the triage distribution of patients who present to ED. The change of distribution might have implications for meeting performance criteria and assessing casemix.