The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is a 340–361-bed acute tertiary referral hospital in the western suburbs of Adelaide. Since 1999, the hospital has had difficulties coping with emergency admissions demand, especially during winter. Over the previous years, there has been a reduction in acute bed numbers from 476 to 361. Also, within the past two years, there has been the loss of 250 residential care facility (RCF) nursing home beds from the western region of Adelaide. At the same time, the activity of the hospital as measured by casemix activity has remained constant. The inpatient occupancy in winter has resulted in the emergency department (ED) requesting to go on ambulance diversion (bypass) almost daily, usually in late afternoon; however, on most occasions, this has not been either approved or possible.
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