Funding injection for hospital

HEALTHY UPGRADE: From left, State Health Minister Stephen Wade, Health Advisory Council Presiding Member Sandra Plew and Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey.
HEALTHY UPGRADE: From left, State Health Minister Stephen Wade, Health Advisory Council Presiding Member Sandra Plew and Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey.

The federal government are injecting $11.4 million into the Whyalla Hospital to expand and redevelop the local accident and emergency department.

The investment is also going towards relocating the hospital's high dependency ward closer to the emergency area to ensure nursing and medical staff can be utilised effectively across both areas.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey and State Health Minister Stephen Wade visited the Whyalla Hospital on Wednesday to announce the funding injection.

Mr Ramsey said he had inspected the hospital with the Health Advisory Council, and a number of deficiencies in the current facilities had been brought to his attention.

"It's a bit of a rabbit warren back there with a number of facilities that are co-joined," he said.

"There's a real advantage in having your accident and emergency department alongside your high dependency ward.

"If you need help from people working at the cutting edge of delivering health services they will be right there."

The relocation of the high dependency ward will make it easier for medical staff to transfer patients there from accident and emergency.

Funding for the upgrade is locked into the Federal Budget, and despite the Morrison government's chances looking gloomy in the upcoming election, Mr Ramsey believes it's unlikely a new government would not follow through on the investment.

"It would be a very brave government indeed, regardless of their colour, that would start by ripping $11 million out of a regional hospital," he said.

"It's not going to happen, the deal is done with the state government - it's rock solid."

Construction of the expanded emergency department is expected to create a number of jobs, with Mr Ramsey hopeful that local contractors will be employed.

"This is not an astronomical project, it's just the kind of thing that local contractors should eat right up," he said.

With concerns being raised around the safety of staff in the emergency department in recent weeks, Minister Wade said the upgraded emergency area would be constructed with nurse and patient safety in mind.

"I fully appreciate the concerns of staff that when they come to work they don't expect to get hurt. Their vocational life is to provide care, I'm appalled when people don't show doctors and nurses the respect they deserve," he said.

"There is a security review underway right across country health facilities and there will be a particular focus on Whyalla, but we're continuing to take steps to ensure safety now."

In the meantime the nurses station has been enclosed in glass and doors have been refitted to manage physical flow of patients coming in.

MInister Wade said the state government would be working with their procurement team to form a timeline for the redevelopment of the emergency department.