The South Australia Ambulance Service has pleaded with the public to avoid misusing emergency services amid the introduction of a raft of temporary changes set to reduce “pressure on busy hospital emergency departments.”
With 8,538 presentations to emergency departments (EDs) across the past week, new measures will see ambulances only answer to “urgent” cases, with all non-elective surgeries postponed.
Some patients will also be directly to hospital wards – skipping EDs in the process, which SA Health chief executive Vickie Kaminski says will help to ease “unprecedented demand”.
“From today, patients who are assessed as not requiring hospital or paramedic care will be advised of alternative care options, including visiting a GP clinic or pharmacy,” she said.
“For some patients not requiring paramedic support, the Royal District Nursing Service will also be able to provide in home support.
“This will see fewer ambulances going to our hospital EDs, and ensure they’re available to respond to the most urgent cases.”
It comes as SA Ambulance Service CEO Jason Killens has also urged people to stop calling Triple Zero unless it was an emergency – after callouts were made for non-life threatening conditions including a stubbed toe.
“We are continuing to receive calls from patients who… do not need an emergency ambulance,” he told reporters at a press conference.