A Marshall Liberal Government will deliver best practice health services for women and children by building a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital co-located with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).
In our first 100 days, we will establish a high-level task force to drive the project and develop a fully-costed project plan, with a view to achieving co-location by 2024.
The task force will include clinicians and their health professional and industrial organisations. Engaging health professionals is crucial to avoid a repeat of the poor planning processes that led to the budget blow-out, the design and planning flaws and the ongoing operational challenges with the new RAH.
The task force will identify the capital cost of the project, the number of inpatient beds required and the state-wide models of care required to support the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
The current location of the WCH in North Adelaide does not support best practice in contemporary health care for women.
When a new mother in the WCH becomes seriously ill, she currently needs to be separated from her newborn child and transferred to another hospital where adult intensive care services are available.
The lack of a helipad on the North Adelaide hospital site is also a significant shortcoming that can delay the commencement of life-saving treatment for children.
In an emergency, a gravely-ill child needs to be flown to the RAH or another site and then transferred to the WCH by ambulance.
Before the 2014 election, the Weatherill Government promised to build a new $600 million women’s and children’s hospital alongside the new RAH by 2023.
Eighteen months later, as part of its failed Transforming Health changes, Labor said it was looking to fast-track the project so that improvements in the care of women and children could be delivered even sooner.
Another two years passed before Labor broke its promise to the South Australian community, announcing that it was no longer planning to build a new WCH alongside the new RAH.
Now Labor says it will build two hospitals: one for women by 2024 and a second for children at some future point in time, at an undisclosed site and for an undisclosed cost.
Peak health organisations, including the Australian Medical Association (AMA), do not support Labor’s plans. According to the AMA, clinicians are concerned that Labor’s plan “will leave very sick neonates without on-site access to vital sub-specialty medical and surgical services, specialised radiology and laboratory investigations.”