Winter Demand Plan

Our hospitals are busy year-round, however from June to October each year we see an increase in demand which extends beyond the traditional winter season. This includes a surge in respiratory illnesses which has an impact on hospital capacity. Already this year we have more people becoming unwell with influenza than we did last at the same time year, in addition to other illnesses such as RSV and COVID-19.

During winter, we see more people needing to be admitted to hospital for inpatient care than we do across the rest of the year, suggesting more people become unwell with complex care needs.

This increased demand can create challenges for our hospitals which include extended wait times in emergency departments (EDs), delays in accessing inpatient hospital beds, and longer lengths of stay in hospital.

SA Health’s Winter Demand Plan 2024 (PDF 4.3MB) sets out how we will manage demand during the winter months. We have more supports in place than ever to help South Australians get the care they need, when they need it.

We are delivering a range of initiatives under five priority areas, which include:

  • Keeping people well in the community.
  • Getting the right care in the right place.
  • More beds and treatment spaces.
  • High-impact interventions to support timely patient flow.
  • Our workforce.

Every person in our health system including ambulance officers, nurses, doctors, allied health, administration, and ancillary staff work extremely hard year-round, but particularly at times of higher demand. We thank them for their dedication to providing the best possible care for South Australians.