Half a hospital will come at twice the price

The postponed construction of a new Children’s Hospital is the collateral damage of Labor’s mismanagement of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital project, State Liberals claim.

Yesterday, the Weatherill Government announced that the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) would be halved, pushing off construction of the children’s hospital until the next decade.

“Jay Weatherill’s decision highlights the real cost of the $740 million cost blow-out of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“Had the nRAH not suffered a 43 per cent cost overrun there would be much more funding available to construct a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the health precinct.

“South Australia desperately needs a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Jay Weatherill’s decision to cut the project in half and delay the completion date by years is a cruel breach of the promise made leading up to the 2014 election.

“Building two hospitals instead of one will add significantly to the eventual cost of these hospitals.

“Ironically, the impact of the cost blow-out on the nRAH will contribute to another massive cost overrun.

“In 2013, the Government promised to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital for $600 million.

“In 2017, the Government is promising the women’s services for $573 million. You can’t build a children’s hospital for $27 million.

“Jay Weatherill’s decision will result in the current WCH treating children well past its used by date.

“Indeed the Weatherill Government recognised the need for a new hospital to treat South Australian children in 2013 but will now not identify a site until 2019.

“If the Weatherill Government is re-elected in March next year, babies born in 2013 will be teenagers before a new Children’s Hospital is opened.

“It needs to be remembered that in 2015 as part of Transforming Health, Labor promised to bring forward the construction of a new WCH.

“The Weatherill Government is again playing South Australians for fools. This time its playing with electoral fire.”