Across the country, hospital emergency departments and healthcare systems continue to come under enormous pressure, including from the emergence of COVID-19 subvariants.
Emergency department staff are continuing to see large numbers of patients, unwell with the flu and other respiratory viruses. This includes a recent large increase in the number of patients unwell with COVID-19 requiring hospital admission.
The College supports initiatives from governments to communicate, highlight risk and provide additional advice to communities.
We also encourage governments to consider mandating additional public health measures as recommended by public health officials, to help protect the community, and ease pressure on healthcare systems.
We encourage people to receive the vaccines they are eligible for, and heed mask-wearing recommendations.
ACEM acknowledges the recent advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee that potential reinfection periods be reduced from 12 weeks to four.
There is a fine balance to be struck between enhanced community safety and ensuring sufficient staff are available to work in the healthcare system. Governments must carefully consider this, particularly in relation to any measures which may prevent well healthcare workers from attending work in already understaffed systems.
In acknowledging the significant pressures currently being experienced across healthcare systems, the College is eager to see measures implemented in all jurisdictions that increase capacity throughout hospital systems, and improve patient flow out of EDs and into hospital wards. There needs to be a clear focus on support of complex discharge planning to enable patients to receive appropriate community-based care where required.
The Federal Government also has a crucial role to play in reducing pressure on hospitals; through fairer funding arrangements with the states and territories, fast-tracking programs to ensure NDIS applications are processed and that people who need supported housing have access to it.
We also need to see better mental health supports, and increased access to clinical care for people in residential aged care facilities, to help relieve some of the significant pressure currently facing healthcare systems around the country.
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