Release date: 22/06/2022

The EDs are for Emergencies campaign urging South Australians to only go to hospital emergency departments in an emergency will be immediately restarted by the Malinauskas State Government as hospitals face enormous winter pressure.

The campaign which includes advertisements on social media and on television, comes as metro public hospitals are experiencing huge and unprecedented demand at the moment, with the potent combination of COVID cases, flu cases and normal winter ills - and lack of capacity after four years of under-resourcing by the former Government.

But as well, new COVID modelling from the University of Adelaide indicates that there is a likelihood of the BA.5 Omicron subvariant leading towards a peak in mid-July.

The Government is working to ensure that every possible measure is taken to reduce pressure on hospitals – and reduce the burden on hard-working health care workers including doctors, nurses and ambos.

To support the hospital system, the Government has implemented a Winter Demand Strategy to manage demand in hospitals, which includes opening extra beds across the system, providing more care in the community, including flu shots, so people can avoid the need to go to hospital.

With the significant pressure being felt this week, the Government is also:

  • Accessing up to 28 private hospital beds for public patients from next week because there is not enough capacity in the system.
  • Admitting lower acuity patients to peri-urban hospitals to reduce pressure on metropolitan hospitals.
  • Reducing non-urgent elective surgery this week.
  • Working with the Commonwealth Government to increase the capacity and hours of the GP Respiratory Clinics. With increasing cases of Influenza in the community, it is important that the community can access respiratory care, with 10 GP Respiratory Clinics across the state, with bookings available online.

The Government campaign is urging South Australians to help reduce demand – and seek help at ED only in the case of an emergency - not with minor ills and ailments.

For minor illness or injury, people are encouraged to visit their local GP, GP Respiratory Clinic, pharmacist, after-hours GP clinic, or virtual care service.

Families can access the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service here: www.wch.sa.gov.au/patients-visitors/emergencies/virtual-urgent-care

Of course, anyone that is seriously ill with a medical emergency or life-threatening situation should always call triple zero (000) or present at an ED as soon as possible.

If you are unsure if your condition requires emergency medical intervention, you can seek advice through HealthDirect, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 022 222.


Quotes

Attributable to Chris Picton

Our hospitals are extremely busy at the moment. For the very first time we have the combination of COVID, flu and normal winter ills putting enormous pressure on our hospitals, our EDs and our hospital staff.

And that comes on top of four years where hospitals were under-funded and under resourced with not enough capacity for normal demand let alone demand during COVID and this flu season.

The Malinauksas Government has committed an extra $2.4 billion to provide extra capacity with more beds, doctors, nurses and ambos.

But this extra resourcing and capacity will take time to build.

In the meantime, this winter we are preparing the hospital system to manage this significant demand.  

We have opened every extra bed we can and are working with private hospitals, providing more care in the community through virtual care services, providing free flu shots and free COVID vaccinations and urging South Australians through our campaigns to do their bit and get vaccinated this winter.

The message for South Australians is please don’t go to emergency departments if you don’t need to be there. Please look at other options including your GP for care.

I want to thank all hospital staff and our ambos for working so hard during this time to ensure continued care for our community.