More funding for hospital beds and ambulance stations

The Malinauskas Government will spend $30 million to build an extra 56 beds across the Queen Elizabeth and Lyell McEwin hospitals, as it reveals the location for three new ambulance stations.

Jun 05, 2024, updated Jun 05, 2024
Premier Peter Malinauskas and Treasurer Stephen Mullighan announcing new health spending at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital today. Photo: SA Govt/supplied

Premier Peter Malinauskas and Treasurer Stephen Mullighan announcing new health spending at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital today. Photo: SA Govt/supplied

Ahead of tomorrow’s State Budget, the government today revealed it will build 36 additional beds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a further 20 at the Lyell McEwin Hospital.

The extra beds, set to open next year, only cost $30 million because they are being built in old administrative areas of the existing hospitals, Premier Peter Malinauskas said today.

“There’s been planning that has been done in how we can utilise existing spaces to get more productive outcomes,” he said.

“We want to make sure that parts of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital that are old and outdated can be refreshed and renewed and rather than be administrative spaces, [they can be] transformed into clinical spaces.”

The $30 million funding announcement comes after another torrid week for the state’s health system, which is grappling with heightened demand amid a rise in COVID-19 and flu cases.

All category two and three elective surgeries were cancelled last Thursday amid a system-wide code yellow declaration to free up beds across the health system.

It was then revealed on Saturday that ambulance ramping – the time spent by ambulances outside public hospital emergency departments waiting to discharge patients – reached a record 4773 hours in May.

The state government brushed off an Opposition no-confidence motion against Health Minister Chris Picton in parliament on Tuesday, voting it down 28 votes to 10.

Malinauskas said 150 more beds were coming online across SA Health this year followed by 186 beds next year. The government has committed to 606 extra hospital beds in total.

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“More capacity is required in the system, and we are delivering it,” the Premier said.

“We’ve got the nurses, we’ve got the additional doctors, we’ve got the allied health staff and everybody else that is required to look after patients.

“We now need to see additional beds coming online.”

The government also today announced an extra $58 million for the SA Ambulance Service.

Of this, $24 million will go towards building new ambulance stations at Marion, Two Wells and Whyalla.

Marion and Whyalla already have ambulance stations that were slated for an upgrade, but the government said it would instead invest more funding to build new stations that are “fit for purpose”.

The Two Wells ambulance station will be a new location for the state’s ambulance service, with the northern Adelaide town currently reliant on ambulances from Gawler to the east and Mallala further north.

The remaining SAAS funding will go towards a new electronic patient care record system ($23.5 million) and an expansion of an existing telephone assessment service which helps redirect patients to other services when an emergency response is not needed.

Opposition leader David Speirs said today: “We welcome any investment in our health system but the truth is that everything Peter Malinauskas has done so far has failed.”

“Our health system is in crisis and over the past week we have seen record ramping, emergency departments over capacity and the cancellation of elective surgeries.

“This is unacceptable and is having devastating impacts on South Australians who need help.”

Topics: Health
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