More private hospital beds to tackle COVID wave

Adelaide private hospitals will temporarily make another 107 hospital beds available to support public hospitals overstretched by COVID-19 and flu cases.

Jul 28, 2022, updated Jul 28, 2022
Health Minister Chris Picton with nurses. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Health Minister Chris Picton with nurses. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Health Minister Chris Picton told reporters a short time ago the state government had reached a deal with 10 private hospitals across Adelaide for the temporary provision of 107 additional beds.

He said the latest acquisition brought the number of private beds brought into the public system to around 240 since the Malinauskas Government was elected in March.

Calvary Health Care is providing the bulk of the new beds, with 20 coming from both Calvary Adelaide and Calvary Central Districts along with another six from Calvary North Adelaide.

Burnside Hospital has put forward 17 beds while Flinders Private Hospital has added 14.

Western Hospital (10 beds), Griffith Rehab Hospital (8 beds), McLaren Vale Hospital (5 beds), North Eastern Community Hospital (4 beds) and Adelaide Clinic (3 beds) are also involved in the deal.

Picton said the private hospital capacity would provide “vital additional support” to the public health system as it confronts a “significant number of COVID and flu cases”.

“This means that we can move many of the patients across our system into those beds freeing more capacity, particularly for COVID patients in our public hospital system,” he told reporters.

“Already we have started to move patients into Central Districts Calvary Hospital from the Lyell McEwin, I know imminently patients will be moving from Flinders public hospital into the private hospital next door.

“One by one all of those additional beds are going to be coming online in coming days.”

Picton also provided an update on the hospital discharge delays for NDIS clients which have been plaguing the public health system this year, with dozens of healthy NDIS participants stuck in hospital more than 100 days after they are approved for discharge.

Picton said 28 NDIS clients were successfully discharged from South Australian hospitals last week along with 80 aged care patients.

But he conceded some additional NDIS clients may have been admitted to hospital over the past week or since become eligible for discharge, meaning there are likely still around 100 NDIS clients in hospitals who don’t need to be there.

“We have an issue with NDIS patients who are ready to be discharged but we have blockages from the Commonwealth NDIS programs in getting them access to care,” Picton said.

“So we are still working on other plans on how we can help get some of those patients out in the short term even if we have to help provide alternative accommodation to do so.

“We’ll have more news about that very shortly.”

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South Australia recorded another 3957 cases today and 17 historical COVID-19 deaths, including a woman in her 20s.

There are currently 339 people with COVID-19 in hospital – down from 365 yesterday – with eight people in intensive care.

Asked whether South Australia has hit its COVID-19 peak yet, Picton said: “I think it’s still possibly too early to say.”

“But we are confident that it seems to be tracking in line with the modelling that we’ve had.

“There’s a lag effect in terms of the hospitalisation impact of that, so even though its welcome to see that figure come slightly down today, it’s too early to be popping any champagne corks around that.”

Modelling from the University of Adelaide predicts South Australia is likely to hit a peak of about 400 COVID hospitalisations sometime this week

Premier Peter Malinauskas also today announced the location of the first of five ambulance stations Labor committed to build before the election, beginning in the eastern suburbs with 16 ambulance officers.

Malinauskas said the first station would be built at the intersection of Magill Road and Portrush Road in Norwood.

“We know that the eastern suburbs amongst other areas has actually been one of the missing pieces of the puzzles that has resulted in backfilling occurring across the system and overwhelming the ambulance service,” he said.

“So getting these 28 additional ambos out on the road does make a material difference, and now we get on with the work of building a brand new ambulance station they’ll be able to operate out of the eastern suburbs.”

The remaining four stations are set for construction at yet to be identified locations in Adelaide, Edwardstown, Golden Grove and Woodville.

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