Language and utilisation of emergency care in Queensland

Mahmoud, Ibrahim and Hou, Xiang-Yu and Chu, Kevin and Clark, Michele (2013) Language and utilisation of emergency care in Queensland. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 25 (1). pp. 40-45. ISSN 1742-6731


Objective: To compare access and utilisation of EDs in Queensland public hospitals between people who speak only English at home and those who speak another language at home.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of a Queensland statewide hospital ED dataset (ED Information System) from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010 was conducted. Access to ED care was measured by the proportion of the state’s population attending EDs. Logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the relationships between ambulance use and language, and between hospital admission and language, both after adjusting for age, sex and triage category.

Results: The ED utilisation rate was highest in English only speakers (290 per 1000 population), followed by Arabic speakers (105), and lowest among German speakers (30). Compared with English speakers, there were lower rates of ambulance use in Chinese (odds ratio 0.50, 95% confidence interval, 0.47–0.54), Vietnamese (0.87, 0.79–0.95), Arabic (0.87, 0.78–0.97), Spanish (0.56, 0.50–0.62), Italian (0.88, 0.80–0.96), Hindi (0.61, 0.53–0.70) and German (0.87, 0.79–0.90) speakers. Compared with English speakers, German speakers had higher admission rates (odds ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.34), whereas there were lower admission rates in Chinese (0.90, 0.86–0.99), Arabic (0.76, 0.67–0.85) and Spanish (0.83, 0.75–0.93) speakers.

Conclusion: This study showed that there was a significant association between lower utilisation of emergency care and speaking languages other than English at home. Further researches are needed using in-depth methodology to investigate if there are language barriers in accessing emergency care in Queensland.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 42338
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2021 04:25
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2021 06:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: emergency care; immigrants; language barrier; utilisation
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420309 Health management
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320207 Emergency medicine
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only