Policies on Patient Waiting Time

The problem of protracted patient waiting time is universal. Numerous studies, both local and abroad, have been done to investigate the causes and the stages at which the delays are usually observed, to help improve patient satisfaction. Although some of these studies recommend to increase manpower and utilize the more senior members of the resident staff in triaging, this is not the cost effective and may hamper the services of the other areas of our hospital. Reducing patient waiting time in a government hospital setting remains a challenge, and policies and procedures need to be put in place to improve patient care and at the same time raise patient satisfaction.

All patients who come to the National Children’s Hospital will be seen in the following order:

  1. Emergencies
  2. Non-urgent priority cases (immunocompromised, neonates, Philhealth members)
  3. Other non-urgent cases

All emergency cases will be seen “stat” or immediately but those in category 3 may have substancial waiting time. The waiting time for cases with non-emergency nature maybe as 2 to 4 hours, the determined average duration of weaiting time in our institution based on a representative study done in our OPD last November 2009


  1. Triaging of patients shall be implemented 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The order the patients will be seen shall be based on triage categories:

              A. Emergent – shall be seen intermediately and not to exceed 15 minutes include cases that need immediate resuscitation that if not immediately attended to will result to death and permanent disability.

              B. Urgent – shall be seen within 30-60 minutes

              C. Non-urgent – shall be seen within 2-4 hours.

      2. After stabilization of emergent and urgent cases, they shall be transferred to their respective wards within an hour , depending on the complexity of the case.

      3. Registration of all emergency cases shall be done at the Emergency Room to avoid delay in administration of care.

      4. All non-urgent cases shall be directed to the OPD where registration shall take place on the designated OPD registration area.

      5. The OPD shall be open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. All consultation outside of these hours are coursed to the Emergency Room.

      6. After being triaged, all subspecialty consults shall be directed straight to the respective sub-specialty clinic.

      7. All non-emergency priority cases shall be queued at the fast track line.

      8. All patients waiting for laboratory result/s shall not be asked to queue up again and shall be seen as soon as the results are in and as soon as the attending physician finishes with the patient he is currently attending to.

      9. The average wait time for non-urgent case from registration to physician contact and disposition shall be between 2 to 4 hours.

      10. In case of delay, patients and families/ guardians shall be regularly updated by the Traffic Flow Officer about the cause of the delay and provided with an estimate of how long they will have to wait.