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The South Australian government says ambulance ramping has “plummeted”, with new statistics showing a dramatic drop in the practice since it peaked late last year.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
In October 2021, 2,868 hours were lost to “transfer of care”, or the time it takes to get patients out of ambulances and into hospital.
But in February this year, 1,522 hours were lost, a 47 per cent drop.
The government released the statistics a month early, with Health Minister Stephen Wade attributing the decrease to government policies that diverted patients away from emergency departments
This is clear evidence that the government’s initiatives and investment in health are having a significant impact,” Mr Wade said.
“I think a significant amount of this decrease is not, if you like, faster flow, but it’s actually community care for patients who didn’t need to go to an ED in the first place.”
Labor has so far been fighting the election on the health front, promising to “fix the ramping crisis” and dedicating more than $1 billion to health promises.
Shadow Health Minister Chris Picton said the numbers were still bad, despite the improvement from October.
“We still have absolutely shocking ramping in South Australia, and these statistics absolutely confirm it,” he said.
“In the last year, compared to four years ago, ramping is five times higher than it was at the same levels.
“Stephen Wade is running around giving himself a medal but these figures are shockingly higher than they were before he was elected.”
SA Health has previously said it only releases ramping statistics quarterly, with the next numbers due in April, after the state election.
SA Health has issued a direction ordering the state’s hospitals to ensure no ambulance transfers exceed one hour.
The health system has been dealing with an ongoing ramping crisis with some patients spending five hours in the back of an ambulance earlier this week.
The direction, issued by SA Health chief executive Chris McGowan yesterday, said 75 per cent of transfers to emergency departments from ambulances must be completed within 30 minutes of an ambulance arrival.
South Australian Salaried Medical Officers Association past president David Pope said the direction was outrageous.