Yesterday it was Queensland. Today it is South Australia. And once again the bureaucrats think they know better than the doctors. They didn't even bother talking to the doctors! My suspicion is that some Leftist hater just didn't like the "Royal" in the name of the existing hospital. They are small-minded enough for that. Witness all their whining about politically correct words
Eminent medical specialists have launched a campaign to save the Royal Adelaide Hospital, saying the city does not need the planned $1.7 billion Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital. A group of respected senior doctors who have spent the past year "brooding and alarmed" have decided to go public with their opposition and have formed a committee dedicated to saving the RAH from being bulldozed. "We want genuine discussion about whether the RAH really needs to be closed," spokesman Dr James Katsaros said yesterday. "We have a responsibility to look at whether we are making a terrible mistake in spending $1.7 billion on something that is not needed while erasing an iconic institution. ". . . as senior members of the medical community we came to the view that if we did not stand up against this lunancy, no one would. "We have been brooding on this for a long time, whispering in corridors and over coffees about the madness of the plan, which was announced without consultation with the medical community."
The "Save the RAH Medical Committee" says the state does not need a new hospital and the RAH's patient accommodation could be upgraded for far less than the Marj's ballooning $1.7bn cost - and the work completed far earlier than the Marj's 12-year time frame. The Save the RAH group includes leading and retired orthopaedic surgeons, cardiologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists and pathologists, as well as people who have held representative positions such as Australian Medical Association office holders. Members so far include Dr Peter Hetzel, Dr John Sangster, Dr Daryl Teague, Dr Francis Ghan, Dr Randall Sach, Dr Peter Malycha, Dr Philip Harding and Dr Katsaros.
The committee is holding a meeting for the medical fraternity at the RAH on March 16 to discuss the issues and see if there is genuine support for the new hospital. If the meeting shows a lack of support for the Marj, the committee will widen the debate to public meetings. The key concerns of the Save the RAH group include:
A LACK of consultation by the State Government with the medical community or the AMA before the plan was announced;
A LACK of convincing arguments in favour of building the Marj;
MISINFORMATION about the state of the RAH, which they say has been substantially upgraded in recent years;
DESTRUCTION of the close working relationship between the RAH, Adelaide University Medical School, Hanson Institute and Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, which are all on the one city campus;
ABOLITION of the brand name "Royal Adelaide Hospital" - world famous within medical circles.
Dr Katsaros, committee chairman and director of the plastic and reconstructive surgery at the RAH, said the group represented conservative people who otherwise would not want to be caught in a political row. "There was no review to see if it was actually needed, no public debate, just an announcement," he said. "We have been alarmed ever since the announcement was suddenly made and the discussions among doctors have been ones of alarm and incredulity. "Being conservative, it has taken a while to band together and go public, but we have to show leadership and generate genuine discussion about whether we need a new hospital. "While we as senior doctors feel we must stand up, we also have the support of many junior staff as well as nurses and allied health workers who believe the RAH should be retained. "I believe we do not need a new hospital at all; but if the overwhelming view of the medical community after we have discussions is that we do need one, then we will say `so be it' and move on."
Dr Katsaros noted the RAH was world respected, both in facilities and in name that also promoted the city. "The RAH has a brand new emergency (department), which is state-of-the-art, an intensive care area the envy of most hospitals, a world-class burns unit, modern dialysis unit and so on," he said. "Every hospital has to start planning upgrades virtually as soon as they are built, but the RAH right now is at a point where the most urgent thing is a new patient accommodation wing. "That could be built for around $300 million, rather than $1.7 billion, and could be completed in a couple of years rather than waiting 12 years."
The committee will meet AMA officials this week with a request it notify members of the March 16 meeting in the hope of having the largest possible number of the medical fraternity on hand to voice their opinions about whether a new hospital is needed.
Dr Katsaros said the Marj announcement came without any review into whether it was needed. "The existing institution can be refurbished and rejuvenated, as was done in the 1960s when a larger RAH was rebuilt on site without major problems," he said. Dr Katsaros emphasised the RAH name was a respected and valuable brand name for SA. "Can you imagine the folk in Minnesota bulldozing the Mayo Clinic and building the Michael Jordan Hospital 1km away?" he said. "They'd be a laughing stock."
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