Original articles

Workload and casemix in Cape Town emergency departments

Lee Alan Wallis, Michele Twomey


Little is known about the nature of patients presenting to Emergency Departments (ED) in South Africa. This study aimed to provide evidence regarding the ED usage in Cape Town, by studying patients at four Community Health Centre (CHC) EDs, with details of the severity of their presentation and their disposal.

A total of 16392 patients presented in the eight week study, and 15681 were included in data analysis. One quarter were children. There were clear and predictable peaks in attendance after 1600 hours and at weekends, with a steady stream of patients presenting overnight. Patient severity was evenly distributed between Emergency, Urgent and Routine care. Nearly 10% of patients were referred on to a higher level of care.

The data of this study presents a model for staffing and resource allocation. It has implications for the provision of emergency care in CHC EDs.

Authors' affiliations

Lee Alan Wallis, UCT & SU

Michele Twomey, UCT

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workload; casemix

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2007;97(12):1276.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-04-30
Date published: 2007-12-18

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