Sep 2018

Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre Ward to Reopen as SA Health Prepares for Busy Winter

Published in General on September 03, 2018

According to a recent bulletin issued to Central Adelaide Local Health Network members, SA Health is preparing for the reopening of an old ward in Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre to accommodate seasonal overcrowding of the state’s hospitals during winter.

The end of the year is historically the most overwhelming time for healthcare providers due to the uptick in patient care caused by the onset of flu season. Hampstead’s reopened ward will provide 25 additional beds to service non-emergency patients that need treatment before returning home or being transferred to another medical facility.

The total taxpayer cost for the facility is estimated at $2 million. However, it will also create jobs in the area as a team of thirty new nurses will be required, along with seven allied health professionals.

Local Health Network Plans to Meet Winter Demand

The Health Minister had previously expressed concerns that the Hampstead facility was being underutilised, which is why the ward’s reopening was factored into the local health network’s ‘Winter Demand’ agenda several months ago.

A number of representatives have been adamant about the challenges that the winter healthcare season presents, so this step is part of a larger effort that has been rolling out incrementally for months.Hospital staff members have been complaining of the poor response to the winter demand for years, and last year was particularly busy despite the opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. Many elective surgeries had to be cancelled and some patients in the city had to be relocated to rural hospitals.

Bernadette Mulholland, a senior industrial officer for the Medical Officers Association (MOA), stated that last year was the worst overcrowding she’d ever seen at hospitals in Adelaide. She also suggested that officials should focus on making improvements to Modbury Hospital in relation to patient capacity. 

Devising a Strategy to Prepare for Winter 2018

With peak winter demand fast-approaching, many healthcare professionals are happy to hear about the plan for extended services and facilities.

Although staff members are optimistic about the initiative having a measurable impact on the ease of providing streamlined medical services, many are still expecting a tough time during the height of flu season.

Mulholland noted that the MOA had been receiving complaints from staff who were upset about the lack of a solution to the state’s obvious winter healthcare demand problem.

In response, the board devised a multi-faceted plan to alleviate the workload on employees, particularly in and around Adelaide.

Creating a Better Experience for Both Staff and Patients

Ultimately, the reopening of an unused ward at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre is one step closer to creating a medical environment that’s easier on both the healthcare providers and the patients themselves.

Taking steps to better utilise local healthcare facilities will reduce the burden on hospitals in South Australia, and Hampstead’s close proximity to the Adelaide city centre makes it an ideal component in the strategy.

It will be interesting to see whether the adjustments will create a noticeable difference for hospital staff that have traditionally been overwhelmed during the last few months of the year.