Winter readiness across health system

SA Health is continuing to roll out a comprehensive plan to manage extra demand on its hospitals this winter.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the plan included the opening of 48 extra beds in metropolitan hospitals.

“Winter is always a busy and testing time for our hospitals and for all our staff, more so this year as a result of the former Labor Government’s decision to close the Repat,” said Minister Wade.

“This is going to be a challenging winter but each Local Health Network, along with SA Ambulance Service, have developed their own local plans for managing expected increases in demand – local solutions to local problems.”

The local plan for Central Adelaide Local Health Network was publicly announced in early June.

“The local plans are supported by an overarching, state-wide Winter Demand Management Plan,” said Minister Wade.

“We are also introducing 48 extra beds in the system – 11 at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, 25 at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, and a 12-bed, dedicated Extended Emergency Care Unit (EECU) at Flinders Medical Centre – to increase capacity this winter.”

Other winter management strategies include:

  • Ensuring those most at risk have access to influenza vaccinations;
  • Enabling faster diagnosis and treatment for patients with respiratory viruses;
  • Temporary postponement of non-urgent overnight elective surgery at peak periods; and
  • Using peri-urban and country hospitals to enable clinically suitable patients to receive ongoing care.

Minister Wade said the plan will continue to evolve.

“For the first time, SA Health is assessing the option of mobile x-ray services so patients in aged care can access diagnostic services in their facility, rather than travel to an emergency department,” said Minister Wade.

“We have also improved access to medical imaging services at some hospitals so that necessary support services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In addition to the winter demand management strategy the Marshall Government has established a discharge lounge at the RAH and opened up 10 additional mental health beds.”

For more information about SA Health’s Winter Demand Management Plan, visit

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