National Healthcare Agreement: PI 21b-Waiting times for emergency department care: proportion completed within four hours, 2013 QS

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Quality Statement
METeOR identifier:507433
Registration status:Health, Superseded 14/01/2015

Relational attributes

Indicators linked to this Quality statement:

National Healthcare Agreement: PI 21b-Waiting times for emergency hospital care: Proportion completed within four hours, 2013 Health, Superseded 30/04/2014

Data quality

Quality statement summary:
  • The scope of the data used to produce this indicator is non-admitted patients registered for care in emergency departments in public hospitals reporting to the Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NAPEDC) National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) (Peer Groups A, B and other) as at August 2011 (when the National Health Reform Agreement National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services was signed).
  • For 2010–11, the coverage of the National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDC) collection is complete for public hospitals in peer groups A and B. It is estimated that 2011–12 has similar coverage, although final coverage cannot be calculated until the 2011–12 National Public Hospital Establishments Database (NPHED) data are available.
  • Caution should be used in comparing these data with earlier years as the number of hospitals classified as peer groups A or B, and the peer group for a hospital, may vary over time.
Institutional environment:

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority established in 1987, governed by a management board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health and Ageing portfolio.

The AIHW aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. It collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.

The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to these standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.

One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national datasets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse these datasets and disseminate information and statistics.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with compliance to the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth), ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions with respect to privacy and confidentiality.

For further information see the AIHW website

Data for the National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection (NESWTDC) were supplied to the AIHW by state and territory health authorities under the terms of the National Health Information Agreement (see the following links):



The state and territory health authorities received these data from public hospitals. States and territories use these data for service planning, monitoring and internal and public reporting. Hospitals may be required to provide data to states and territories through a variety of administrative arrangements, contractual requirements or legislation.


The reference period for these data is 2011–12.

The financial year of 2011-12 is the first reporting period that these data are available according the agreed specification. 


The AIHW provides a variety of products that draw upon the NNAPEDCD. Published products available on the AIHW website are: Australian hospital statistics suite of products with associated Excel tables. These products may be accessed on the AIHW website at:


Metadata information for the NAPEDC NMDS and the NAPEDC Data Set Specification (DSS) are published in the AIHW’s online metadata repository, METeOR, and the National health data dictionary.

METeOR and the National health data dictionary can be accessed on the AIHW website at:




The purpose of the NNAPEDC is to collect information on the characteristics of emergency department care  for non-admitted patients registered for care in emergency departments in selected public hospitals classified as either peer group A (Principal referral and Specialist women’s and children’s hospitals) or B (Large hospitals). In 2011–12, hospitals in peer groups A and B provided over 80 per cent of all public hospital accident and emergency occasions of service.

The data presented here are not necessarily representative of the hospitals not included in the NNAPEDC. Hospitals not included do not necessarily have emergency departments that are equivalent to those in hospitals in peer groups A and B.

Data are reported by jurisdiction of presentation, regardless of the jurisdiction of usual residence.


For 2010–11, the coverage of the NAPEDC was 100 per cent in all jurisdictions for public hospitals in peer groups A and B. For 2011–12, the preliminary estimate of the proportion of emergency occasions of service reported to the NAPEDC was 100 per cent for public hospitals in peer groups A and B.

In the baseline year (2007-08) for this indicator, the Tasmanian North West Regional Hospital comprised the combined activity of its Burnie Campus and its Mersey Campus. This hospital was a Peer Group B hospital. There was then a change in administrative arrangements for Mersey and it became the only hospital in the country owned and funded by the Australian Government and, by arrangement, operated by the Tasmanian Government. This administrative change necessitated reporting of these campuses as separate hospitals from 2008-09 onwards. On its own the North West Regional Hospital (Burnie Campus only) is a Peer Group B hospital, whilst, on its own the Mersey Community Hospital is a Peer Group C hospital. Burnie and Mersey did not substantially change their activity, rather, it is simply a case that activity is now spread across two hospitals. For National Healthcare Agreement purposes, although it is a Peer Group C hospital, the Mersey Community Hospital continues to be included in reporting for Peer Group B hospitals to ensure comparability over time for Tasmania.

Data for the Albury Base Hospital (previously reported in New South Wales hospital statistics) were reported in Victorian hospital statistics. This reporting arrangement should be factored into any analysis of data for New South Wales and Victoria.

States and territories are primarily responsible for the quality of the data they provide. However, the AIHW undertakes extensive validations on data. Data are checked for valid values, logical consistency and historical consistency. Potential errors are queried with jurisdictions, and corrections and resubmissions may be made in response to these queries. The AIHW does not adjust data to account for possible data errors or missing or incorrect values.


The data reported for 2011–12 are consistent with data reported for the NNAPEDCD for previous years for individual hospitals.

In addition, the data reported to the NNAPEDCD in previous years has been consistent with the numbers of emergency occasions of services reported to the National Hospital Establishments Database (NPHED) for each hospital for the same reference year.

Future time series presentations may be affected by changes in the number of hospitals reported to the collection and changes in coverage.

The information presented for this indicator are calculated using the same methodology as data published in Australian hospital statistics 2011–12, Australian hospital statistics: emergency department care and elective surgery waiting times (report series) and the National Healthcare Agreement: performance report 2010–11.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:

Has been superseded by National Healthcare Agreement: PI 21b-Waiting times for emergency department care: proportion completed within four hours, 2014 QS Health, Superseded 14/01/2015