South Australia’s ‘Umm…ergency?’ campaign tackles emergency department pressure

The ‘Umm…ergency?’ campaign is rolling out soon to help alleviate pressure on hospitals by asking South Australians to consider whether an emergency department is necessary for certain situations.

The announcement:

A new confronting and catchy ad campaign is encouraging South Australians to think whether they really need an emergency department, to help ease unnecessary pressure on our busy hospitals.

The ‘Umm…ergency?’ campaign has just started on social media and billboards, with ads to start running on television (standard and on demand), radio and YouTube from next Sunday 23 June.

The ads are unapologetically graphic to encourage South Australians to call Healthdirect for care options if they’re unsure whether it’s actually an emergency.

They feature the slogan ‘Emergency? Or more of an umm…ergency?’

The campaign is part of the State Government’s 2024 winter demand strategy, released in May.

Demand management ad campaigns have run for many years however this campaign takes a new approach in an attempt to make a real impact after months of work and focus group testing.

The new campaign is important because this year there are new ED avoidance options that have never been available before including:

• Virtual GPs available through Healthdirect 1800 022 222
• 5 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics at Elizabeth, Royal Park, Oaklands Park, Morphett Vale and Mount Gambier
• Three 24/7 pharmacies at Norwood, Clovelly Park and Salisbury Plain

The message is to call Healthdirect to find out the best care option for your situation.

It comes as lights and sirens ambulance response times continue to improve on previous years with the best May results since the 2022 State Election.

Last month, 72 per cent of Priority 1 cases were reached on time within eight minutes, up significantly from 54.9 per cent in May 2022.

For Priority 2 cases, 60.5 per cent were reached on time within 16 minutes, a vast improvement compared to 34.8 per cent in May 2022.

Priority 1 response times/percentage within eight minutes
May 2024/72.0
May 2023/68.4
May 2022/54.9

Priority 2 response times/percentage within 16 minutes
May 2024/60.5
May 2023/59.1
May 2022/34.8

The improved response times are despite 1,088 more ambulance transports to Adelaide metro hospitals in May 2024 compared to May 2022, a 9 per cent increase.

Public hospitals have been extremely busy this year with COVID, flu, RSV and other viruses.

The Malinauskas Government is investing an additional $7 billion into our health system including adding more than 330 hospital beds due to be built and opened by the end of next year.

The new ad campaign – costing $960,000 – will run until January next year.

The ads will start in regional newspapers from this week, in cinemas from later this month and on bus shelters next month.

They will also run on TV screens and posters in hospitals, GP clinics and pharmacists.

Quotes attributable to Chris Picton

Our hospitals are really busy and we know that some illnesses and injuries do not need a visit to the emergency department.

That’s why we’re trying something different with this year’s demand management ad campaign to encourage people to really think if they actually need an ED.

People can call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 to find out the best option for them.

Of course, our emergency departments will always be there for those who need them.

We need more beds in our hospital system to improve patient flow and free up capacity and that’s why we are working so hard to build and open hundreds more hospital beds.

Over the course of this year and next we will open more than 330 new hospital beds – that’s the equivalent of more than a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Source: South Australian Government Media


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