Release date: 27/09/2022

The Malinauskas Labor Government is thinking for the long term, revealing plans to build a bigger and better new Women’s and Children’s Hospital on a larger site, with room for both the WCH and the Royal Adelaide Hospital to expand in the future.

The new WCH will be built on a site encompassing the SAPOL Barracks, which is twice as big as the RAH West site proposed by the former government.

The State Government’s new WCH will include:

  • 56 more beds, delivering the government’s election commitment of 50 extra beds
  • Built in capacity for an additional 20 beds, taking the total beds to 414, 76 more than the existing hospital
  • A 24 per cent increase in treatment space, compared with the existing WCH
  • A 4-bed Intensive Care Unit for women, co-located with the Paediatric ICU
  • Critical care services all on one floor – including birthing, theatres, 23-hour ward, Paediatric ICU and Neonatal ICU
  • A direct connection to the parklands, enhancing recovery and wellbeing
  • A dedicated heliport with direct access to critical clinical areas, which was not possible on previous site
  • Dedicated sterilisation facilities – avoiding delays to surgery by facilitating quick turnaround times on sterilising equipment

The site decision follows a review which evaluated six site options in the biomedical precinct - including the former government’s site - and found the barracks site was the most clinically appropriate option, while also delivering the best long-term outcome for the RAH and WCH.

The previously proposed site was landlocked between the RAH, railway tracks and North Terrace – robbing the WCH of future growth opportunities. The site was part of the RAH expansion zone, depriving the RAH of the opportunity to expand.

The smaller footprint had also forced the Neonatal ICU to be disjointed from other critical care services on a separate floor. The former government’s plans also risked interruption to RAH clinical services, with the sites so close together they required disruption to the ambulance ED entrance during construction.

The cost of the former site had increased by $850 million to $2.8 billion, despite having no future expansion capacity. The original plans had only one more paediatric overnight bed than the current hospital.

The State Government has decided to think for the long-term, with a $3-$3.2 billion investment to deliver a bigger, better WCH, with room to expand in the future.

Early works are set to commence in 2023, with construction commencing in early 2024, and an anticipated opening date of 2030-31.

The State Government will work with SAPOL on moving operations from the barracks site to alternative accommodation.

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Attributable to Peter Malinauskas

The State Government is thinking for the long term, building a bigger, better Women’s and Children’s Hospital with room for both the WCH and RAH to expand in the future.

The previous proposal would have cost $2.8 billion for a hospital which had only one more paediatric overnight bed than the existing WCH and no room to grow in the future. The RAH would also lose the opportunity to expand. It was short-term thinking.

We want to do this properly the first time and the State Government’s new WCH delivers the best outcome for mothers and their babies for generations to come.

I promised South Australians at the election we would make decisions in the interests of the long term, not the short term, this is an example of that.

Attributable to Chris Picton

This site gives us the opportunity to deliver clinical services not possible on the previously proposed site, including a dedicated helipad, critical care services all on the one floor and an ICU for women.

The direct connection to the parklands will also enhance recovery and wellbeing for mothers, children and babies. We have listened to the clinicians and their concerns – and will now build a new hospital that will deliver world class facilities, and expansion capacity for the future.