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NRAH winter opening will put patients at risk

With the new Royal Adelaide Hospital now unable to open before the start of winter the State Liberals are demanding that the Health Minister Jack Snelling rule out opening the hospital during the 2017 flu season.

“It’s time the Health Minister Jack Snelling confirmed that he won’t be putting South Australian patients at risk by forcing the NRAH to open during the flu season,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

In 2015 the Health Minister explicitly ruled out opening the new hospital in winter, admitting that it would be “foolhardy and dangerous” to do so (The Advertiser, 18 September 2015).

A current State Government tender for six-month role as a ‘Change Management Director’ for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital with an indicative start date of late-March 2017 is concerning evidence of a planned mid-winter opening.

Given the tender describes this role as - critical to the success of the new RAH Program and as such, SA Health seeks a high performing individual with a track record of delivering outstanding results in a complex environment – the Government is putting in place a key project leader at the 11th hour.

“The Weatherill Government must not put patient health at risk in an attempt to limit the nRAH’s budget blow-out,” said Mr Wade.

“Whilst any delay will cost the Government $1 million a day and the nRAH is already $640 million over budget that is not a justification for putting patient health at increased risk.

“Last year South Australia had a relatively mild flu season increasing the probability of a severe flu season this year.

“A spike in the number of flu patients at the start of this year is a warning sign that we may be on the verge of a severe flu season.

“The move of the Royal Adelaide Hospital to its new site will be a complex and demanding enough without increasing the dangers it presents to patients by forcing that move to occur during the flu season,” Mr Wade said.