ACEM President Dr Simon Judkins said the move, which includes 32 beds at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, would only make existing pressures being felt across the health network and city worse.
“There has been a recent renewed focus on the issues of ambulance ramping and hospital access block which have been ongoing for some time and are yet to be fixed. We know that ambulance ramping and hospital access block increases threats to patients, including the greater risk of death,” said Dr Judkins.
“Taking beds offline certainly isn’t going to improve the situation, and to suggest this move is in line with ‘best practice’ is simply beyond belief. This can only result in worse outcomes for patients in South Australia.”
ACEM South Australia Faculty Chair Dr Thiru Govindan said the College has been offering to help find solutions to the ongoing ambulance ramping, access block and capacity issues, and expressed disappointment at the move to mothball beds.
“While it has been claimed that beds could be reactivated at times of increased demand, the fact the trigger point for these beds coming back online hasn’t been made clear is cause for further concern,” said Dr Govindan.
“ACEM has been offering to help come up with solutions to improve the situation, so it is deeply disappointing that this course of action has been taken.
“We will certainly be raising these concerns, among others, with the South Australian Health Minister, because this latest move shows we are currently a very long way from an acceptable situation.”
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au