What we are doing

Hospital demand strategies we are implementing in times of peak demand:

priority care centres reducing pressure on our emergency departments

We have recently opened four Priority Care Centres across Adelaide as part of a pilot program to ease pressure on our hospital Emergency Departments. 190 patients have attended a Priority Care Centre as of 3 September 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

Patient being wheeled in hospital bed

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

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:

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.

As at 29 August 2019, 84 patients have been discharged in total as a part of NDIS Hospital Discharge Pilot Project and the Long Stay transition to Discharge Project. Those 84 patients had a combined stay of 10,434 days since being medically cleared for discharge, with the longest patient waiting 429 days for services in the community.

a hospital bed in a hospital setting

In July, a new Patient Services Panel was established, which will allow 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

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

  • 30 new beds on the Repat site for long-stay patients
  • 12 acute medicine beds at Noarlunga Hospital for appropriate direct admissions.
  • New 8-bed Emergency Extended Care Unit (EECU) at Modbury Hospital, which allows patients to be assessed and treated for up to 24 hours.
  • 10 new forensic mental health beds at Glenside.
a person holding an xray

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.

sneezing lady

Two public awareness campaigns were    launched during the peak flu period, including FluFlu Prevention (April to June 2019) and Flu Stops With You (July to September 2019), which aim to educate the community the risks associated with flu, how easily it spreads, and practical measures to reduce the spread. 

Free flu vaccinations for children aged 6 months to under 5 years old are available to restrict the spread of the influenza virus among one of the most vulnerable population groups.

a healthy man sitting in a waiting room with sick people around him

Is it really and emergency? is a marketing campaign which launched in June, aimed at encouraging the community to consider the best health care option before visiting an ED, and easing pressure on our hospital EDs by reducing unnecessary presentations.

Staff member with open folder

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

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 865 patients have been seen by one of the pilot programs as of 29 August 2019.

  • Central Adelaide Local Health Network (LHN) has partnered with Home Support Services to deliver the Rapid Hospital Avoidance Program, which targets complex individuals who present to the ED or who are admitted to hospital but could otherwise be appropriately supported in the community with access to rapid response, coordinated, multidisciplinary services.
  • 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.
  • Southern Adelaide LHN has partnered with the Royal District Nursing Service to develop the Rapid In-Home Health Team (RIHHT) Home pilot which provides certain specialist and acute care services in the southern community and in people’s homes.
Ambulance officer at rear of vehicle

A series of initiatives have been rolled out to improve the flow of patients through our hospitals. 

Following a ‘Stop Ramping’ workshop in February 2019, Central Adelaide LHN has been working on a number of programs and initiatives to improve patient outcomes, including reduced ramping and waiting times for patients in EDs, as well as better access to services in the community.

This has included an increased presence of general physicians and geriatric teams in EDs to assist patients in getting the rapid assessment they require and home with the appropriate support.

The initiatives are starting to deliver more positive patient experiences, including a reduced average length of stay of 12 per cent at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (5.6 days compared to 6.4 days) and 8 per cent at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (4.7 days compared to 5.1 days) than the same time last year (updated figures as of August 2019).

Nurse with patient

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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