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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

South Australia’s public hospitals grind to a halt

Health Industry Hub | May 31, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: South Australian public hospitals find themselves grappling with the profound impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as the Chief Executive of the Department for Health, Dr Robyn Lawrence, officially declared a system-wide internal emergency.

On Thursday afternoon, Dr Lawrence initiated a code yellow which saw all available beds mobilised and almost all elective surgeries halted in both metropolitan and regional public hospitals.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Dr Lawrence emphasised the “significant demand” faced this week, citing a concerning statistic: approximately 270 staff in metropolitan hospitals are currently side-lined due to COVID-related illness, while over 140 patients are battling COVID and flu within hospital walls.

The strain on resources became starkly apparent earlier on Thursday, as all Adelaide metropolitan emergency departments operated at code white, signalling overcapacity.

“To manage the demand, our local hospital networks have opened all available hospital beds, maximised out-of-hospital care options, and paused all elective surgery except Category 1 and paediatric urgent Category 2 in metropolitan and country hospitals,” Dr Lawrence explained.

Chris Picton, SA Minister for Health, said “The Malinauskas Government is making a substantial investment into the state’s health system, building more hospital beds and hiring more doctors, nurses, ambos and allied health workers.

“Unfortunately, many of those hospital beds become blocked with patients waiting for residential aged care places, which is why [the Urgent Care Clinic] investment is so important for helping to free up our emergency departments and ambulances.”

Bernadette Mulholland of the SA Salaried Medical Officers Association painted a vivid picture of the challenges ahead, likening it to “turning around the Titanic of our health system”.

An SA Health spokesperson declined to provide further details, leaving the public awaiting updates on the evolving situation.

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