Ramping up again as hospital upgrade announced

Ambulances and patients spent 3583 hours – equal to 149 days – ramped outside Adelaide hospitals in December, up 1.9 per cent from November.

Jan 06, 2023, updated Jan 13, 2023
A paramedic protests ramping under the Marshall Government. Photo: supplied

A paramedic protests ramping under the Marshall Government. Photo: supplied

The government this morning released latest “transfer of care delay” figures showing ramping had worsened in December from the 3516 hours recorded in November, but said it was 6.6 per cent lower than a high in June.

It also said that category one and two emergency presentations in December were up 17.5 per cent compared to the same time last year, with Flinders Medical Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital seeing “dramatic increases of 29.5 per cent and 28 per cent respectively”.

The government said that ramping decreased at Flinders, Lyell McEwin, Noarlunga and Modbury hospitals but climbed at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.

“This coincided with an increase in ambulance attendances at the RAH and QEH of more than 8 per cent as COVID hospitalisations peaked at 255 patients in hospital, the highest number since August,” a statement said.

The Opposition said that the past eight months had recorded the state’s worst ever ramping figures.

“This is usually a quieter time when our frontline health workers can catch their breath, but this December we’ve seen a 70 per cent jump in ramping when compared to the same time the previous year,” said Liberal leader David Speirs.

“Peter Malinauskas is failing South Australians on his promise to ‘fix ramping’ and the figures prove it. Sadly, Labor’s spin is outpacing their ability to follow through on their promises.”

The government also released details of Noarlunga Hospital’s upgrade which it called the site’s biggest ever capital investment, building 48 new beds to boost capacity from 92 to 140.

It said a $36 million Mental Health Rehabilitation Service will offer 24 specialist mental health beds for those with high and complex needs, while a $38 million 24-bed Inpatient Medical Unit will also be built.

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Wilshire Swain Architects and GHDWoodhead will design the upgrade with concept planning and clinical consultation to begin soon, with construction expected to start later this year following a tender process.

The government also said that work on an expanded renal dialysis unit at Noarlunga Hospital would start later this month.

The $2.8 million 12-chair unit will be built in a renovated area of the hospital opposite the main entrance.

“These extra beds and investments will provide southern suburbs’ residents with better access to vital healthcare, in turn improving patient flow and reducing pressure on the system – all things which will help address ramping,” the government said.

Health Minister Chris Picton said the Noarlunga Hospital upgrade delivered on the government’s election commitments.

“This will be the biggest investment in upgrading and expanding Noarlunga Hospital we have ever seen,” he said.

“It will mean more beds, more doctors and nurses, and more care locally. More acute care and more mental health care at Noarlunga will help to reduce access block at our emergency departments at both Flinders and Noarlunga.”

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