Public urged to help fix our sick state of health 

15 September 2021

The public crush on Adelaide’s ailing emergency departments continues unabated with the number of people waiting for a ward bed soaring to record heights in 2021.

Last year the average number of people waiting in emergency departments (EDs) for a ward bed daily at 8am jumped from 60 to 80 over the course of 12 months. This year that figure has blown out to an average of 100, resulting in patients receiving delayed care and sometimes no care at all.

On Monday, 123 people were waiting for a bed, the highest figure since May. This despite increased capacity in the emergency departments created to “fix” ramping.

This number of people exceeds the capacity of Noarlunga Hospital!

Sixteen people were waiting for 24 hours or more. One in five were mental health patients, with the Royal Adelaide Hospital 15 over capacity for inpatient mental health.

We have been saying for more than three years that we need better capacity across the hospital and aftercare continuum – not a pre-occupation with ED beds. We need inpatient and home care capacity to move people out of the ED and into ongoing care and treatment, places for care and support for people with disabilities after their treatment has ended, and aged care places for older people no longer in need of hospital care.

In response to the Marshall Government’s continued inaction on the health crisis in this state, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) is today launching the next phase in its Action For Health campaign, inviting members of the public to join our e-mail campaign calling on the Premier, Health Minister and other MPs to urgently address our dangerously underresourced and understaffed health system.

“The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch), like the rest of the community, is fed up with the Marshall Government’s sluggish and half-baked response to the sick state of health in this state,’’ said ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM.

“Currently we have unprecedented wait times for treatment, record ramping levels, overwhelmed hospitals unable to cope with demand declaring internal emergencies, elective surgeries being cancelled, exhausted nurses working double shifts fearful that fatigue will inevitably result in a tragic mistake.

“All this at a time when the COVID pandemic is relatively contained in South Australia, and at a time when the Government inexplicably has been offering voluntary redundancy packages when there simply are not enough nurses to fill shifts.

“We have a health system that even fails our children, with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital continually running well over capacity, sometimes more than double capacity.

“We know there are solutions to this. We have offered real solutions in our pre-2022 state election Health Policy Position Statement and we have also offered solutions to the current Marshall Government. The time for action is long overdue,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“The major political parties’ responses to the issues, and the ideas we advance for policy, will be published on our campaign website for the benefit of the wider community.

“We are calling on members of the public to lend your support to our campaign for a health system that actually caters to the health care needs of the community.

“When the health system is broken we are all at risk.’’

Members of the public will be able to scan the QR code below to send a letter to an MP today or they can visit our website to join the campaign:

Join the campaign