South Australian Public Hospitals Declare Internal Emergency Due to COVID Staff Shortages

Main image to the post South Australian Public Hospitals Declare Internal Emergency Due to COVID Staff Shortages

South Australian public hospitals are in dire straits as the health department has declared a system-wide internal emergency due to a high number of staff being sick with COVID. SA Health chief executive, Robyn Lawrence, announced a code yellow on Thursday, allowing all available beds to be utilized and almost all elective surgeries in metropolitan and regional public hospitals to be put on hold. Dr. Lawrence cited "significant demand" as the reason for this decision, with Adelaide metropolitan emergency departments operating over-capacity at code white earlier that day.

With approximately 270 staff members in metropolitan hospitals currently off sick with COVID, and over 140 patients hospitalized with both COVID and flu, the strain on the healthcare system is evident. To manage the overwhelming demand, hospitals have opened all available beds, maximized out-of-hospital care options, and halted most elective surgeries except for critical cases. The impact of the widespread respiratory illnesses, particularly COVID and flu, has further exacerbated the staff shortages, leading to challenges in providing adequate care to patients.

Bernadette Mulholland from the SA Salaried Medical Officers Association highlighted the struggles faced by hospital staff, acknowledging the community's inevitable long waits in emergency departments. She described the situation as akin to "turning around the Titanic of our health system," expressing concerns over reductions in elective surgeries and full intensive care units. Despite the efforts to address the crisis, uncertainties remain about the duration of these emergency measures, as SA Health officials have declined to provide further details at this time.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09