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Royal Adelaide Hospital threaten patient overflow

The fact the Royal Adelaide Hospital had 821 patients needing a bed yesterday is yet another warning that the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will struggle to cope with patient demand when it opens to the public.

Even when the $2.3 billion nRAH is fully open the maximum number of overnight beds available will be just 663 - 158 fewer than the number of patients at the RAH yesterday.

“If the RAH was operating at the new site today it would have been overflowing, increasing the risk to patient safety,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“The nRAH has all single patient rooms which makes it much less flexible in dealing with surges in patient demand than the current ward-based RAH.

“I’m concerned that the Weatherill Labor Government is using the hospital move as cover to drive the bed closures that it wants as part of its Transforming Health budget cuts plan.

“It’s well known that new hospitals have a honeypot effect that results in even greater levels of patient demand.

“If the nRAH faces even greater patient numbers than it did yesterday they will be flowing out the front door and down North Terrace.

“Nor are inpatient bed numbers the only capacity issue facing the nRAH.

“The Weatherill Government has constructed the world’s most expensive hospital with outpatient facilities so poorly designed that they are not fit for purpose.

“SA Health CEO Vickie Kaminski’s revelation on ABC radio that there is a 20% cut in outpatient activity is yet another case of sheer incompetence by the Weatherill Government.

“The Weatherill Government is planning to open the nRAH on September 5th yet doesn’t know how it will cope with this massive shortfall of outpatient work.

“The failure of Labor to provide sufficient space for outpatient services will cost taxpayer’s additional money to provide these services.”