Background: Emergency departments (EDs) are the basic units of emergency care. We performed a national inventory of all Singapore EDs and describe their characteristics and capabilities.
Methods: Singapore EDs accessible to the general public 24/7 were surveyed using the National ED Inventories instrument ( http://www.emnet-nedi.org). ED staff members were asked about ED characteristics with reference to calendar year 2007.
Results: Fourteen EDs participated (100% response). All EDs were located in hospitals, and most (92%) were independent departments. One was a psychiatric ED; the rest were general EDs. Among general EDs, all had a contiguous layout, with medical and surgical care provided in one area. All but two EDs saw both adults and children; one ED was adult-only, and the other saw only children. Six were in the public sector and seven in private health-care institutions, with public EDs seeing the majority (78%) of ED patients. Each private ED had an annual patient census of <30,000. These EDs received 2% of ambulances and had an inpatient admission rate of 7%. Each public ED had an annual census of >60,000. They received 98% of ambulances and had an inpatient admission rate of 30%. Two public EDs reported being overcapacity; no private EDs did. For both public and private EDs, availability of consultant resources in EDs was high, while technological resources varied.
Conclusion: Characteristics and capabilities of Singapore EDs varied and were largely dependent on whether they are in public or private hospitals. This initial inventory establishes a benchmark to further monitor the development of emergency care in Singapore.