Noarlunga Hospital to play critical role in minimizing ramping

Helping the system: The Noarlunga Hospital will help to release pressure on emergency departments when the Southern Health Expansion Plan is rolled out. Photo: SA Health.
Helping the system: The Noarlunga Hospital will help to release pressure on emergency departments when the Southern Health Expansion Plan is rolled out. Photo: SA Health.

$86 million will be spent by the SA Government in order to help minimise ramping, easing the pressure on hospital emergency departments.

Titled the Southern Health Expansion Plan, majority of the changes will take place in the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department (FMC ED).

This expansion will include: 12 more emergency stay extended care beds, 12 more treatment bays, 6 more flexible beds and 45 more FTE (full time equivalent) doctors, specialists and nurses.

Over the following four years an extra $45.7 million will be used to support the expansion with the first step of this plan involving the Noarlunga Hospital.

Patients in the Noarlunga Hospital's Myles Ward will be transferred to a new, state of the art 12-bed acute specialist facility in the revitalised Repat Health Precinct.

This will enable an acute medical ward to move from Flinders Medical Centre to Noarlunga Hospital.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the Plan would stem the flow-on burden to other hospitals, especially the RAH which often acts as a pressure valve when hospitals are busy, while also ensuring people from the south won't have to go to the RAH for care.

"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."

SALHN Clinical Director of Emergency Services Dr 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," Dr Andrew 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."