Parliament Speech - Grievance Debate 28/03/2017

Mr PICTON ( Kaurna ) ( 15:59 ): I am confident that most South Australians will have had some experience with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, whether as a patient receiving care or as a family member visiting loved ones who were being treated, perhaps at a late-night visit to the emergency department. Given that it is the hospital that deals with the most complex cases in our state, it is of importance to people not just in Adelaide but right across the state.

The recollection of patient experiences often involves extreme thanks for the excellent care provided by doctors and nurses but concern about the far less than ideal conditions in the hospital: patients sharing rooms with up to seven other patients, the risk of cross-infection, sharing bathrooms, ageing infrastructure and inefficient design. That is why in June 2007 this government announced that it would invest in the future of South Australia's health care by rebuilding the Royal Adelaide Hospital on a new site.

This decision was arrived at following many months of planning and deliberation, focusing on the inability to rebuild the hospital on its current very cramped site, the efficiencies that could be delivered by a completely new and modern hospital design, and rebuilding on a new site rather than having a decade of disruption for patients and families on the current site.

At the time, I was lucky enough to be one of a large number of people working on the project planning, led by my predecessor the member for Kaurna, John Hill, excellent public servants, including Jim Birch, Dr Tony Sherbon, Dr David Panter, Jenny Richter and Derek Exton and supported by the then premier, treasurer and the whole cabinet. Their vision, planning and foresight will pay dividends for the health of South Australians for decades to come.

Just last week I had the honour of visiting the new hospital now that it has reached the technical completion stage. I was there with you, Deputy Speaker, along with the Speaker, the member for Wright and the member for Fisher and others, visiting the hospital and seeing it now that it is at the technical completion. Never have I been prouder of that work a decade ago than when we toured the hospital and saw the site where health care will be transformed in this state forever and the benefits of that meticulous planning that will be delivered for patients very shortly.

All are single-patient rooms that will increase the comfort for patients, help recovery, reduce patient falls, reduce patient infections and include all natural light, with opening windows and room for family members to sleep over with their loved ones. There are massive new operating theatres, all bigger than the current biggest operating theatre at the old RAH, with room for new technology that will progress over time.

There is modern design at the hospital designed around the patient pathways and needs, ensuring that patients can get access to the services they need in a timely manner. When you arrive at the emergency department, there will be access to diagnostics, imaging, pathology and all the things you need in a timely manner. Everywhere through the building is an environment that is welcoming, easy to navigate with lots of natural light and internal gardens. There is lots of parking and lots of food options.

As more and more people get the chance to see the hospital in the lead-up to it opening later this year, they too will see how beneficial all these planned-out elements will be. Just like we have experienced, sadly, with the tram, the new Adelaide Oval, the footbridge and the super schools, the new hospital has been subjected to sustained opposition from the Liberal Party and from all the Adelaide 'do nothing brigade' over the last decade.

Patients who receive that world-class care in world-class facilities will not be worrying about the lies and misinformation that has been spread about this project for so long. They will be focused on the fantastic care that has been provided to them in the best hospital in Australia, if not the world.

Ms Chapman interjecting:

Mr PICTON: The deputy leader interjects—she is certainly one who has been leading the campaign against this hospital for the last decade and people will remember all those quotes when it opens.

I congratulate all the builders, the planners, the architects and contractors involved in the new hospital and thank the hundreds of doctors and nurses who have been involved in the detailed planning, the clinical spaces and the patient pathways. I now look forward to the massive project underway for the establishment and transfer of patients to the new hospital, and thank everyone who will be involved in that massive effort.

What will be left will be a legacy for South Australian health care for at least the next 50 years: the best hospital in Australia, the best care for patients. People will remember that it is this government that delivered it against huge opposition from those opposite who tried to stop it at every step of the way, yet we persisted because we knew that this would be in the best interests of South Australians and in the best interests of the health care of everybody in this state.

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