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ACEM welcomes the aim of the House of Assembly Petition No 84 of 2021 – SA Ambulance Service Resourcing to “eradicate the practice of ramping at South Australian hospitals through whatever means necessary, including additional funding.”
ACEM’s position is that a whole-of-system response to address overcrowding, and access block, including an investment in more hospital beds, is “the means necessary” to “eradicate the practice of ambulance ramping at South Australian hospitals.”
ACEM states that the swift addition of 130 staffed mental health beds and 200 general beds across the South Australian hospital system will form a vital part of the solution.
Without a holistic response, stand-alone measures solely focused on the ambulances on the ramp will not address dangerous patient congestion in emergency departments and will not resolve the causes or reduce the incidence of ambulance ramping.
ACEM South Australian Faculty Chair Dr Michael Edmonds said, “44,000 signatures on a petition are an indication that the people of South Australia are engaged and passionate about their health system and that they are demanding better.”
“Ambulance ramping is a symptom of a sick healthcare system that needs attention. When a person is sick, or injured, we do not treat the symptoms while ignoring the cause – we treat the patient as a whole. We must treat the causes of ambulance ramping which are access block and hospital overcrowding due, in part, to a lack of hospital and sub-acute beds in South Australia.”
“We could add 100 new ambulances to the road and, if we have not also invested in improvements across the wider healthcare system – particularly more hospital beds and specialised mental health beds, with staff – we could simply have 100 more ambulances ramped outside hospitals.”
ACEM will provide a written submission, and register interest in presenting oral evidence, to the Legislative Review Committee.

ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.

Media contact: Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857