SA government implements new strategy to reduce Winter pressure on hospitals

The ‘EDs are for Emergencies’ campaign is being restarted as hospitals prepare for flu cases, winter ills, and BA.5 Omicron subvariant.

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 state government as hospitals face enormous winter pressure.

The campaign 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.

Moreover, 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 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.

“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,” says Minister for Health & Wellbeing, Chris Picton MP.

“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.”

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:

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.

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