The new Royal Adelaide Hospital we had to have! Time to have a check-up on what is planned!

A political, not a medical agenda

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the New Royal Adelaide Hospital now under construction is more a big-noting political statement than a necessary expansion of the State’s medical program.

The promotional video boasts a world-class hospital but suggests it will be more of a commercial precinct than an acute hospital. Promised are gymnasium, crèche, cafes and shops with parks and recreational areas; all accommodation is in private rooms, something even private hospitals can not yet emulate. A gymnasium may be great for staff, but is scarcely appropriate for an acute hospital where the average stay is only a few days.

The Royal Adelaide medical staff opposed the building of a new hospital on the chosen site, so their views have never been sought on how to make it work. It is becoming increasingly clear that it will just not be possible to dispense with the old RAH in 2016, and that it will necessary to use the two facilities in tandem, at least for some time.

Is it justified to demolish the present Royal Adelaide Hospital?

For 173 years the present hospital has been remodelled, and refitted as required to maintain and upgrade the facilities and equipment of a world-renowned and respected teaching hospital.

Despite the freezing of funds for new constructions on the present site the last few years, the hospital is far from being derelict and in need of demolition. Far from it. Even the now dated East Wing appears to visitors to provide excellent clean, well maintained accommodation, admittedly in six bed bays and not the expensive private rooms planned for the new hospital.

The Casualty and Emergency Department where the hospital interacts with the community is well planned, in excellent condition, and works efficiently. The specialty departments are less on view to public scrutiny, but provide state of art care for those who need it.

The Radiology and Radiotherapy Departments house some horrendously expensive diagnostic and therapeutic equipment; some of which it may not be possible to move, and will have to be replaced at enormous cost.

It has to be questionable whether the new hospital site will accommodate all the Departments of the present hospital.

Back to the “ drawing board!”

It is incredible that with construction of the new hospital well underway there has been so little medical consultation. Nor has the shift and later demolition work been properly costed. There is not even a plan for future use of the discarded site.

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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