Australian private emergency departments can assist ambulance services by taking public emergency patients during surge and disasters

Katie Walker, Michael Stephenson, William A. Dunlop, Edward M. Cheong, Michael Ben-Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a novel ambulance diversion programme, piloted in Victoria. This article discusses creating increased emergency capacity during surge or disasters by utilising private EDs, tested during a recent thunderstorm asthma disaster and an influenza epidemic. Public hospitals and EDs often run at or over capacity during normal operations. This leaves limited ability to manage surges in demand, resulting in suboptimal outcomes for patients, public ED staff and ambulance services. It is feasible to create surge capacity in private EDs for public ambulance patients. Other states could consider this option to help manage health disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalEmergency Medicine Australasia
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2019


  • ambulance, disaster medicine
  • emergency service
  • hospital
  • private
  • surge capacity

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