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What happens at triage: a naturalistic observational study
  1. Joanna Clifford-Brown1,
  2. Kirsty Challen2,
  3. Brendan Ryan3
  1. 1Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex, UK
  2. 2Emergency Department, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kirsty Challen, Emergency Department, University Hospital of South Manchester, Southmoor Road, M23 9LT UK; kirstychallen{at}


Objective To observe activity and delays at triage in an Emergency Department (ED) using the Manchester Triage System.

Method Single-centre naturalistic observational design.

Results 13% patients had observations recorded at triage. 13% of triage interactions were interrupted for an unrelated issue. The mean time to triage was 2.43 min, 0.95 min for patients arriving by ambulance.

Conclusion Triage times and experience might be improved by reducing external interruptions to the triage process.

  • Cardiac care, care systems
  • management, emergency department management

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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