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AMA(SA) Media Release | 8 May 2017

The AMA South Australia has welcomed today’s announcement by the Premier, and Health Minister Jack Snelling of an open date for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, but reiterates that planning must closely involve the doctors, nurses and others delivering care, not only at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, but across the whole health system.

“It is great to finally have a date,” said new AMA State President Associate Professor William Tam. “This provides the doctors and others with something concrete to work with. It is challenging planning for future patient care when a moving date is unknown, which is what doctors and others have been doing for a long time now. Now doctors and others have something more solid to work to – although time will tell whether the dates will ‘stick’.”

“The AMA(SA) has not seen the detail of the three-day transition and was not involved in the Minister’s decision. The Minister has access to his clinical advisers and senior health executives in making this decision, but ultimately, this is the Minister’s call.”

“There is certainly a lot to be done to get this right, and the AMA(SA) will be looking to our members to hear that they are confident that patient safety is assured. Also, that they are being heard during this process. The planning needs to involve everyone concerned.”

“Certainly a move across three days is bold, but again, it is the Minister’s call. The Minister will need to ensure that the government gets this right.”

“We note that the date announced is just past the winter, which had been a subject of some speculation due to flu concerns. The AMA(SA) would sound a note of caution that we don’t know how long flu season will last, or when it will peak. Whilst the new hospital may be able to handle these in the future once fully operational and working smoothly, we are talking about a massive move into a new untested facility, and also impacts on the broader system.” 

“Whenever the move occurs it will be a challenge, and much depends on the capacity of the other hospitals in the health system to pick up extra load before and after the RAH move.

“Those hospitals must be sufficiently supported and in a position to do that. General practice, which links in with hospitals, will also be an important part of the equation, and must not be overlooked. We know that the system is already under significant strain and the move will create unavoidable additional pressure.”

“This move must be seen in the context of the ability of the whole health system – especially with capacity reduced at the RAH and others with increased load – to be able to sustain the care of the SA community at that point in time. We want to see this go as well as possible, and that’s what our advocacy will be focused on.”

“There are many challenges that remain, including the hybrid paper medical record systems, EPAS; clinic scheduling issues; and some industrial matters that impact on clinical services. The AMA(SA) will continue to work with government and senior leaders during this time to help resolve these issues. There are plenty of questions and many more answers needed between now and September,” says Associate Professor William Tam.

“Obviously, the Minister faces a political imperative to have the new RAH open and bedded down as much as possible before the March 2018 state election. But the most important imperative is and will always be what is best for patients, and that is delivering a safe and sound public health system. That is what the AMA(SA) will be looking for, and what the Minister and Government will ultimately be judged on,” Associate Professor Tam said.

8 May 2017 |  Contact A/Prof Tam via Eva O’Driscoll, 8361 0106