Proposed nWCH fails our members’ test  

4 May 2021

Following consultation with members, the ANMF (SA Branch) has expressed grave concerns about lack of beds and capacity at the proposed new Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

We have written to nWCH project director Brenden Hewitt, saying while we are anxious to see the nWCH be a success we cannot give an in-principle support to the proposed treatment spaces until the service provision is decided and the impact of that decision has on other areas is articulated.

The ANMF (SA Branch) is deeply concerned that the current treatment space proposal has no beds allocated to gynaecology services in the nWCH. This seems extraordinary when currently the total bed days for gynaecology totals 2,341 per annum which equates to 1,864 separations.

We cannot support the proposal to remove the gynaecology service from the nWCH.

Another anomaly is the omission of the Women’s Assessment Services (WAS) from the treatment space allocation, both inpatient and in the outpatient consultation space.

WAS is a 24-hour service provided over 7 days a week. There were 16,784 presentations in 2018/19 demonstrating a 5% growth over the previous 4 years.

There is no other area within the proposed nWCH that has the physical capacity to provide the necessary services and care for these women. Therefore, it is imperative that this service remains.

The main Delivery Suite remains at 16 beds. Members feel this is short sighted. The proposal that the Delivery Suite numbers remain constant is conservative and not future proofing the service beyond the next 10 years.

The current number of bed or cot spaces provided in the Neonatal Services is 65 and this is to remain unchanged. Members are deeply concerned without the potential to expand this area will be utilised to its full capacity within the first 10 years.

Re Paediatric Services, the consensus of the members is that there is an attempt to reduce the medical services to be provided in the nWCH. The WCHN clinical service plan proposes that self-sufficiency in Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) will significantly impact on the number of children presenting at the nWCH. We do not agree with this assertion.

We are also deeply concerned with the treatment space afforded to the Paediatric Emergency Department and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and the proposed reduction in the number of beds with the latter.

While we acknowledge that the draft Functional Design Brief (dFDB) document, the proposed Treatment Space document, as well as the Outpatient Consultation room document are works in progress and therefore subject to change following feedback from stakeholders, we believe the concerns of members and clinicians must be adhered to or we face yet another health crisis in the making.

View the letter here.