The Losing Alternative Vision for the Royal Adelaide Hospital

University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Prior to the 2010 election the SA Liberal party put an alternative plan for re-development of the Royal Adelaide Hospital on its present site next to the Medical School, University of Adelaide, IMVS, and the Hanson Research Institute.

The University of Adelaide was established in 1874, and the Medical faculty in 1885. It was the third of the Australian Universities to be built, and has a proud tradition of excellence, having links with five Nobel Prize winners. The proximity of the hospital and the university has been felicitous for medical students particularly, enabling them even in their clinical years to socialize and share ideas with fellow students in other faculties, to use the extensive research facilities of the Barr Smith Library, to attend other scientific lectures, and to take part in the various student groups and clubs of the University, broadening their horizons.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital over a 173 year period of world standard medical care to South Australians has had frequent structural upgrades to modernize and adjust to clinical demands, and technological changes. There have been recent upgrades to the emergency department, to intensive care, the burns, cardio-thoracic, and radiology units. In addition the Renal Transplant Unit shifted to the RAH from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Since 2005, further changes at the present site have ceased.

The Liberal plan included the building of a patient ward structure at the site of the short- term car-park, and the old R wing. This was to be followed by construction of a multi-level, multi-purpose facility facing Frome Road replacing former nursing accommodation. This plan could have avoided undue interruption to hospital operations. It was a staged plan that would have reduced finance costs.

Labor’s commitment to health and education cannot be questioned. However, in the minds of many the decision of the Rann government to ignore informed advice and push ahead with a $12 billion plan for a state of only one and a half million population is likely to be increasingly seen as dumb and foolhardy.

Current Premier Jay Weatherall enjoys a more conciliatory image. His cabinet reshuffle to effect front bench renewal leading into the next election could save Labor’s bacon but he has an unenviable task. He will have to make some tortuous decisions for the sake of fiscal responsibility, and to allay public concerns. He will also need to watch his own back.

About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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