An independent report into a state government policy outlining a four-hour time limit for hospital treatment in Western Australia has found that staff are feeling pressured to rush treatment.
Led by retired neurosurgeon Bryant Stokes, the Four Hour Rule Program Progress and Issue Review found that nurses and fellow medical staff were feeling frustrated and fatigued as they worked to achieve the tight deadline.
Introduced in 2009, the rule aims to have emergency department patients seen and admitted, discharged or transferred within a four-hour timeframe.
According to the director general of the health department Kim Snowball, the report indicates that resources need to be better allocated.
"One of the impacts of the four hour rule is to shift some of the work from our emergency departments, which were very, very busy and put that work into the wards," he told the ABC (January 25).
"What this report identifies is that we need to better match our resources with that workload."
Hospitals exclusively servicing those with private health insurance are exempt from the Four Hour Rule and can also offer patients shorter waiting times and a choice of doctor.
Only one public hospital in the state achieved a four-hour clearance rate of over 90 per cent.