What’s wrong with triage?
Bernie Edwards Senior Lecturer, A&E Institute of Health and Community Studies, Bournemouth
Bernie Edwards argues the initial concept of triage, one that was designed to reduce patient waiting times and ensure therapeutic gains in the A&E setting, has since become little more than a nurse-led queuing system
Since the early Eighties, triage has become an accepted formalised role in A&E. This has happened despite little substantive evidence in support of its espoused benefits. The purpose of this paper is to provoke debate by challenging the assumptions underlying formal triage as currently practised. By tracing its history, it will be shown that far from being a unified concept, triage embodies conflicting ideologies and agendas. This paper will also argue that in consequence of the way in which it has been implemented, the original spirit of nurse triage has been lost and the benefits for patients has become questionable.
Emergency Nurse. 7, 4, 19-23. doi: 10.7748/en1999.07.7.4.19.c1284
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