WCH boost as works on nWCH start from bottom up

The next step in the Marshall Liberal Government’s comprehensive plan for the South Australian health system will provide an additional $30.3 million to upgrade the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH), as enabling works begin on the site of the new hospital set to open in five years.

Premier Steven Marshall said that the Government is determined that South Australian children will continue to receive high quality care in an up-to-date facility while work continues for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital (nWCH).

“My Government has a comprehensive plan to ensure South Australians get the care they need, when they need it and is focussed on further delivering on this through our record $7.4 billion commitment to the health system,” Premier Marshall said.

“Part of this plan is building a hospital that will meet the needs of South Australian families and of which our great State can be proud. At the same time, we won’t let the current site go to rack and ruin while we plan for this new state-of-the-art facility,” said Premier Marshall.

“This $30.3 million investment includes an upgrade of the adolescent ward and an expansion of the Paediatric Emergency Department by 10 treatment spaces.

“End-of-life infrastructure and medical equipment will be replaced, paving the way for more efficient, more timely and better-quality care for the women and children of this state.

“The new investment brings the total sustainment works package to more than $80 million, following upgrades to the mental health ward, theatre suites, ED and neonatal nurseries as well as engineering and ICT infrastructure upgrades over the past four years.

“The nWCH will feature more treatment spaces, more beds, a bigger Emergency Department, more neonatal cots, more theatres, more recovery bays, more outpatient spaces and more car parks than the existing hospital.

“We started with a blank page on the nWCH project when we came to government so it’s exciting to now have contractors on site for investigations that will help determine the building footprint for the new $1.95 billion hospital.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the excavation and potholing work will help determine the best location for stormwater services, paving the way for construction to begin.

“We need to identify the locations of existing in-ground infrastructure such as electricity cables and sewer mains to inform and finalise the design of the new hospital,” said Minister Wade.

“This is a delicate operation that requires several checks and balances and sensitive technology so that we do not disturb the existing services on the site, which service the neighbouring Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).”

SA Health’s Executive Director of Infrastructure, Brendan Hewitt, said a range of enabling and supporting works are vital to prepare the site for the construction of the hospital.

“Hydro excavation trucks have been brought in to dig up samples using a high-pressure water and vacuum technique that breaks down the soil into sludge, mitigating the risks of damaging underground utilities,” said Mr Hewitt.

“The enabling works will provide a new stormwater bioretention basin, replacing the existing RAH stormwater basin and wetlands to serve the nWCH, RAH, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the Australian Bragg Centre.

“The nWCH will be designed to capture all available rainwater that falls on it, maximising the re-use of rainwater through landscaping, toilet flushing and select plant functions such as the cooling tower.”

CEO of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, Lindsey Gough, said reaching this milestone was thanks to the significant input of the hospital’s clinicians, other staff, consumers and volunteers during the first stage of consultation.

“We will continue to work with our doctors, nurses, staff and consumers during all phases of the project to ensure we build a new hospital that is tailored to our unique needs,” said Ms Gough.

“We recently consulted with staff and consumers on the internal layout of the hospital – which maps out the proposed placement of the clinical spaces within the new building. We are now working with architects and health planners to test how the feedback can be incorporated into the design.

“Our hospital has a proud heritage of delivering world-class treatment to the South Australian community and we are now another step closer to creating a hospital that matches the care offered by our dedicated doctors and nurses.”

Construction works on the nWCH are expected to begin in the second half of this year, following the completion of the new bioretention basin.

The $30.3 million WCH upgrades will be fast tracked to maximise their use before the move to the new hospital in early 2027.

The additional Paediatric ED spaces will replace nine temporary treatment pods opened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have closed a lane of traffic on Sir Edwin Smith Drive.

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