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nRAH faces winter overload

Even before the nRAH is completed, the State Liberals have released figures today that show it will have trouble coping with its first winter.

Already a year overdue, and $640million over budget, the $2.3billion 700-bed hospital will be swamped by demand when it finally opens.

Yesterday at 11.30am the RAH had 720 inpatients and another 23 people waiting for a bed, well above the capacity of the new hospital. (Tabled attached)

“I’m concerned that when the flu season strikes the spike in demand for hospital beds will lead to the nRAH being overwhelmed from the very beginning of its operation,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

The Weatherill Government’s failure to manage the flow of patients means people are log jammed, waiting for a bed or being placed in a ward well away from their treatment team – at 11.30am yesterday there were 41 outliers in the RAH.

“Yesterday’s inpatient numbers follow last Friday’s revelation by Professor Paul Reynolds to the Transforming Health Select Committee that the Government is planning to cut outpatient appointments by 20% when the new hospital opens.

“There are now serious doubts about the nRAH’s ability to cope with the level of demand for both inpatient and outpatient services.

“It will be difficult enough for staff transitioning to the nRAH without the added pressure of having to ration patient services.

“It’s equally worrying that planning for the transition for the move of the Royal Adelaide Hospital from one end of North Terrace to the other remains incomplete.”

Channel 10 reported last night that its Freedom of Information request for the transition planning document had been denied because it was still at the draft stage.

In April last year Jack Snelling issued a media release describing the transfer as one of the “biggest and most intricate moves of its type ever seen in Australia.” (Snelling MR : 5 April 2016) 

Mr Wade said: “The movement of the hospital is a huge undertaking that requires highly complex planning.

“Minister Snelling needs to explain why that planning is still in draft form given that the move to the new hospital should have started more than a year ago.”