Waiting is not an Emergency

SA Health


A 31% rise in aggression and abuse towards staff indicated South Australia’s emergency departments were becoming increasingly dangerous places.

Our objective was to reduce this danger to emergency department staff, allowing them to focus on the most life-threatening emergencies at hand.



Our extensive research consisted of emergency department tours and hours spent in waiting rooms during peak demand periods of Saturday nights and Monday mornings. This immersive experience led to two crucial insights:


1. Patients waiting for attention simply couldn’t see the life-threatening emergencies being attended to.

2. Once patients understood they were comparatively low-priority and not at risk of serious harm, there was less of a problem.



We revealed what really happens in a busy emergency department, something that remains unseen from the waiting room. The film blurred the lines between reality and advertising, shot entirely in a working ED with real staff and real-world scenarios.



Within 24 hours, the 30-second film was viewed 2 million times. After a month it had reached 30 million people worldwide with 50,000 comments and 500,000 reactions.

Critically, local and national broadcasters picked up the post, sharing this important perspective on the ED and allowing thousands to voice their support for those who work there.