Breadcrumbs

What we are doing

Hospital demand strategies we are implementing:

priority care centres reducing pressure on our emergency departments

Priority Care Centres

We have recently opened four Priority Care Centres across metropolitan Adelaide as part of a pilot program to ease pressure on our hospital Emergency Departments (EDs). 1,102 patients have attended a Priority Care Centre as of 24 November 2019. 

SA Ambulance Service and our hospital ED staff determine which patients would be better cared for and treated in the community at a Priority Care Centre, rather than waiting at an ED, resulting in the patient receiving the care they need sooner.


Mental Health

In addition to increasing mental health bed capacity at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital:

  • A statewide centre of excellence for people with Borderline Personality Disorder has commenced.
  • SA Ambulance Service and Central Adelaide Local Health Network (LHN) are partnering to commence a second phase of the Mental Health Co-Responder program. This program brings paramedics and mental health clinicians together to support consumers in the community where suitable, rather than transport them to an ED.
  • Planning has commenced for a Statewide Paediatric Eating Disorder Service and a Tier 7 Dementia Unit for Older Persons, both based at the reactivated Repat Health Precinct.
Patient being wheeled in hospital bed

Transferring patients to free up beds

By transferring metropolitan inpatients to peri-urban hospitals, patients can receive ongoing care in an appropriate setting at times of peak demand, and help free up beds for acute and urgent care in metropolitan Adelaide.

Surgical team in operating theatre

Elective surgery

To ensure that beds are available for patients requiring acute or urgent care during times of peak demand, some patients scheduled for same day or overnight elective surgery may have their procedure temporarily postponed and rescheduled for a later date.

Hospital demand strategies we have implemented:

SA Hospital Discharge Project

As part of a project to assist in transferring long stay patients in cute beds to alternative non acute care options SA Health is working with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the department for Human Services on a SA Hospital Discharge Project to improve the timeliness of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) approvals and the timely transition of inpatients to the community with NDIS supports.

123 patients in total have been discharged as at 29 November 2019, as a part of NDIS Hospital Discharge Pilot Project and the Long Stay transition to Discharge Project.

a hospital bed in a hospital setting

Private partnerships

In July 2019, a new Patient Services Panel was established, which allows public hospitals to access services at private facilities. This more streamlined coordination of services will result in reduced waiting times for elective procedures and increased capacity in our public hospitals. The 13 private providers include day and overnight hospitals which will primarily assist with providing hospital services, such as elective surgery and rehabilitation, but also support during emergencies or major incidents.

Elderly patient in hospital bed speaking with staff

Opening more beds

We’ve opened more hospital beds throughout the hospital networks, including:

  • 50 beds on the Repat site (40 in October 2018 and 10 in August 2019).
  • 12 beds at the Noarlunga Hospital Medical Short Stay Unit.
  • 8 bed Emergency Extended Care Unit (EECU) at Modbury Hospital.
  • 10 new forensic mental health beds at Glenside.
  • 10 new Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) beds at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
  • 5 beds in the Short Stay Mental Health Unit at Lyell McEwin Hospital.
a person holding an xray

Mobile Radiology Service

In a first for South Australian public health services, South Australia Medical Imaging (SAMI) will roll out a new mobile radiology service, bringing x-ray equipment direct to nursing home residents. The mobile imaging service trial will support older patients in the southern suburbs who would otherwise require transport to a nearby hospital for an x-ray.

Staff member with open folder

Hospital discharges

We’ve introduced a new Statewide Hospital Criteria-Led Discharge plan to help patients return to their home as soon as possible, and reduce the pressure on our hospitals and EDs.

Elderly lady sitting with a man

Home Hospital Pilot Programs

Several Home Hospital Pilot programs have been introduced across metropolitan Adelaide, to enable suitable patients to be treated at home and save patients from unnecessary visits to hospital.

A total of 1,158 patients have been seen by a pilot programs as of 5 November 2019.

  • Central Adelaide LHN has also partnered with Calvary to trial a Modified Geriatric Rapid Acute Care Evaluation Service (GRACE), which aims to provide the best care for acutely unwell residents in Retirement and Aged Care facilities (RACF), in the most appropriate and familiar setting, and avoid an unnecessary transfer and/or admission to hospital.
  • Northern Adelaide LHN and Pop-Up Community Care have co-designed a program which aims to reduce ED presentations by linking certain patients with ongoing community supports, including General Practitioners.
Ambulance officer at rear of vehicle

SA Ambulance Service (SAAS)


  • SAAS has undertaken a Scheduled Transport Development Program to improve the efficiency of the Patient Transport Service. This work, collaborating with the metropolitan LHNs, supports patient flow by assisting with timely discharges and assists in creating capacity within our hospitals.
  • SAAS is trialling Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALO) in each metropolitan LHN. These officers coordinate the SAAS support of patient flow, hospital discharges, and SAAS/LHN improvement projects. They provide timely liaison between the hospital and ambulance operations.
  • The SAAS Emergency Operations Centre has Health Network Coordinators (HNCs) who assist in the coordination of ambulance distribution among our hospitals. They actively manage any delays and support the sharing of capacity across the state’s health system.
  • Extended Care Paramedics provide the highest paramedic level clinical treatment, advice and support to assist people to remain in the community rather than attend hospital. ECPs focus in areas such as residential care, palliative care, community referral and support of out of hospital care programs. Within SAAS, they also provide clinical advice to ensure safe and effective ambulance care and referral across the state.
Nurse with patient

Direct admissions to EDs

An increased number of direct admissions means that more patients are being admitted directly to a ward and by-passing hospital  EDs, which means less waiting for patients and reduced pressure on our EDs.

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