Government must fast track Chest Clinic move

The State Liberals have called on the Weatherill Government to fast track the relocation of the isolated Chest Clinic to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital to better support people with cystic fibrosis and other respiratory conditions.

A major design flaw at the $2.3 billion NRAH has resulted in some specialist services having to be provided at the other end of North Terrace, next to the old hospital site.

“Labor designed the new Royal Adelaide Hospital with 40% less outpatient space than the old hospital,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“Respiratory services have been particularly hard hit - the Chest Clinic cannot even fit in the new Hospital and remains stranded in the East End, opposite the old Royal Adelaide Site. In the wards the old RAH had 24 respiratory inpatient beds, at the new RAH there are only 15 beds.

The Cystic Fibrosis South Australia (CFSA) this week issued a statement which revealed that the solution may not be delivered until mid-2018.

The statement said that ‘the current situation of a dislocation of the Chest Clinic from the RAH is unacceptable to CFSA because of the risk to the health of CF patients and the impact on their ability to access appropriate health care in a streamlined, coordinated manner’.

Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said that the alarm bells have been ringing for more than a year but the Government seems incapable of fixing the mess that it has created.

“The Weatherill Government needs to dump their current plan to relocate the Chest Clinic by the middle of next year and fast track the relocation,” said Mr Wade.

“Last year, RAH respiratory clinicians met with Minister Snelling and he guaranteed that the clinic would be accommodated in the new RAH.

“Six weeks ago, staff wrote an urgent letter to the new Health Minister Malinauskas raising concerns about patient safety and staff wellbeing because there had been no progress in permanent fit-for-purpose accommodation.

“In response, Mr Malinauskas publicly stated that he hoped that it could be resolved before Christmas.

“Now, patients are being told that SA Heath hopes to have a solution by the middle of 2018 – eight months away and the other side of a state election!

“In the meantime, the demolition of the East Block at the old RAH is likely to result in significant increase in airborne matter, an increased risk to people with respiratory conditions.”