The South Australian Government has committed $86 million to its Southern Health Expansion Plan, which aims to upgrade health infrastructure and services in the state.
As part of the plan, the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) Emergency Department (ED) will be expanded to include 30 additional treatment spaces, 12 emergency extended care unit beds, 12 treatment bays, 6 flexible beds and 45 full-time equivalent (FTE) doctors, specialists and nurses.
A further $45.7 million will be spent over the next four years to support the expansion of the ED service.
The first step in the plan is to transfer dementia and complex needs patients from Noarlunga Hospital’s Myles Ward to a new 12-bed acute specialist facility at the recently upgraded Repat Health Precinct. This will enable an acute medical ward to move from FMC to Noarlunga Hospital.
Premier Steven Marshall said he is proud to be leading a government investing heavily in the health system to improve patient outcomes.
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“This landmark investment will ease pressure on emergency departments across the hospital network, providing better health services to the people of South Australia,” said Marshall.
“This $86 million investment will make a real difference for hospital patients and staff across the network.”
SA Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said the Southern Health Expansion Plan, which includes the provision of 45 FTE clinicians, would help address the unprecedented demand across our Southern hospitals.
“In a major boost for the southern community, we’ll expand the FMC ED by an additional 30 treatment spaces to ensure the hospital is better equipped to meet growing demand, in turn significantly reducing ambulance ramping and easing pressure on EDs across the system,” Wade said.
“Southern Adelaide has the highest proportion of elderly residents in the state and it is our responsibility to invest in services that deliver optimal care and make the most of opportunities to prosper and grow.”
SA Local Health Network Clinical Director of Emergency Services Andrew Blyth said the plan will have a positive impact on accessibility to local health services.
“We have seen a 15 per cent increase in presentations in FMC ED over the past five years, and we’re on track to treat a record 90,000 patients this year – the highest of any South Australian public hospital – so the plan will significantly improve patient access across our southern health services,” Blyth said.
“By treating patients in the most appropriate environment, we will enhance and build the clinical capacity at Noarlunga Hospital, subsequently reducing pressure on the FMC ED and becoming more self-sufficient in managing ED presentations from across our catchment area.
“The increased capacity within the FMC ED will also ensure doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals have more spaces to treat patients faster.”