The South Australian Government has announced $528 million for a Women’s Hospital for the Adelaide CBD in this week’s State Budget, a part of what it’s described as a $1.1 billion investment into the South Australian health system in 2017-18.
 
Providing an extra 31 beds for women and newborns, up from 117 at the existing Women’s and Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide, the Women’s Hospital will provide services for gynaecological, maternity, mental health and neonatal patients and a “significantly larger” neonatal intensive care unit.
 
It’s a repurposing of a 2013 pledge to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital at the site adjoining the Royal Adelaide Hospital, with a new Children’s Hospital now carved off and delayed while a site is identified at the Adelaide Biomedical Precinct by the end of 2019.
 
Health Minister Jack Snelling said the location of the new Women’s Hospital to be opened by 2024 will provide patients with access to acute-care facilities.
 
“Our doctors say this model will be of great benefit, in particular in situations where a mother may experience a difficult birth and require acute intensive care at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” Snelling said.
 
“Having access to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital’s helipad will also significantly improve the timeliness of access to air services for high-risk maternal and neonate emergencies.”
 
However, AMA SA president William Tam said the group had lobbied the government for women’s and children’s services to remain together.
 
“This was a commitment to the community that it would co-locate both the women’s and children’s services near the new RAH,” Tan told the Adelaide Advertiser.
 
“It’s a shame, really, to see the separation occur and a return to the past.
 
“The other concern we have is that now that we have this separation, it has the potential to disconnect the clinicians who have to look after both paediatric patients and neonates.”
 
The State Budget also includes an additional $24 million over two years towards the $64.4 million upgrade to the existing Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
 
Following the Oakden scandal, which saw about a dozen staff suspended following the chief psychiatrist’s damning report into patient care at the Older Persons Mental Health facility in the Adelaide suburb, a new $13.7 million facility will be funded in the budget for people assessed with the most severe forms of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
 
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital will gain a new emergency department, operating theatre, day surgery suite, outpatient and medical imaging services, and brain and spinal injury rehabilitation facilities as part of a $250 million investment towards stage three of the hospital’s redevelopment.
 
A new, larger $52.5-million emergency department will be built at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, Modbury Hospital will gain a $9.2 million eight bed Emergency Extended Care Unit, and two new operating theatres are to be built at the Flinders Medical Centre at a cost of $3.5 million.
 
An allocation of $44 million will go towards a second South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute – SAHMRI II – to house the Southern Hemisphere’s first proton-therapy
research centre.
 
A $4.7 million contribution over two years will also be made to the Australian Digital Health Agency’s national digital healthcare program as part of the budget.