More Health Services to Ease Pressure on Emergency Departments

A new Priority Care Centre (PCC) which will boost patient services by diverting appropriate cases away from the state’s emergency departments will open at Marion today.

The launch, which comes as the health system prepares for the impact of coronavirus, follows a record number of presentations at the state’s other three PCCs in Hindmarsh, Para Hills and Elizabeth.

Minister for Health Stephen Wade said 114 patients were seen throughout all PCCs last week, the highest number since the trial of the centres began last August.

“The Marshall Liberal Government made a commitment to deliver better health services, closer to home and the success of the PCCs is one of the many initiatives allowing us to do just that,” Minister Wade said.

“The PCCs, along with other programs like Home Hospitals, have managed to decrease ramping by 12 per cent year-on-year, when compared to last February, and 34 per cent since winter.

“This is despite significant growth in the number of patients presenting to our emergency departments.

“This new PCC, together with the new Covid-19 Centre near the RAH and the many initiatives focussed on easing pressure on the state’s emergency departments mean we are better prepared for an increase in coronavirus cases.”

Minister Wade said that for a variety of reasons people with low acuity conditions present to the ED rather than receive their care through community-based services, so the PCC concept, delivered through Wellbeing SA, offers an alternative model of care to attending a public hospital.

About 2,059 patients with non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses have presented to PCCs since they commenced in August 2019.

These patients have been treated for a variety of conditions such as minor sprains, sporting injuries, minor wounds, chronic conditions and respiratory infections. The Centres have on-site access to services such as radiology, pathology, and pharmacy services, as well as offering referrals to other care options if required.

An evaluation of the centres at the conclusion of the 16-week trial period demonstrated the PCCs are an innovative and valuable alternative to reduce the number of less urgent presentations in our EDs provide non-acute care in the community.

Evaluation results found the first PCC that opened at Hackman in August 2019 was not best suited for the concept and subsequently was not continued after the trial period and closed in December.

The new Marion PCC will be open every day of the year, including public holidays, between 10am to 8pm.

Wellbeing SA Chief Executive, Lyn Dean, said in response to feedback, we have extended hours at the centres on weeknights and ensured we have a seven-day service at most sites.

“Feedback from those who have used the centres has been incredibly positive and I would like to thank all the staff from South Australian Ambulance Service, Adelaide Primary Health Network, our Emergency Departments and the PCCs for their hard work and willingness to work collaboratively and try something new,” Ms Dean said.

“Patient survey responses have found 96 per cent were satisfied with the timeframe in which the service was provided and 95 per cent said they would recommend this service to family and friends.

“We would not see such great results without the commitment of the broader SA Health team to provide their patients with the best possible care and treatment options.”

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