Construction has begun on an $8.5 million expansion of the FMC Emergency Department

07 April 2021

(Southern Health News, March 2021)

Construction has begun on an $8.5 million expansion of the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) Emergency Department (ED) - transforming it into the biggest and busiest in South Australia.

The expansion is part of the $86 million Southern Health Expansion Plan (SHEP), which aims to deliver better healthcare, closer to home, for the residents of southern Adelaide.

“An overarching aim of SHEP is to ease pressure on emergency departments throughout Adelaide, and the FMC ED expansion is a key component of this aim,” said SALHN Chief Executive Officer, Professor Susan O’Neill.

She said the FMC ED had seen an increase in presentations over the past five years.

“The FMC ED is the busiest ED in the state and demand has steadily grown in recent years, with high acuity presentations more common. This has great impact on our staff and their ability to provide the excellent care they provide to our patients.”

“The upgrades will turn the FMC ED into the biggest ED in the state and will create more capacity and see improvements in flow for the hospital, so staff can continue to deliver timely emergency care to those in need,” Professor O’Neill said.
The expanded ED includes:

  • up to an additional 30 treatment spaces
  • additional negative pressure resuscitation bays
  • an expansion of the FMC Short Stay Unit
  • a complete refurbishment of the paediatric Emergency Department, to better separate it from adult treatment areas.

In October last year, an additional nine emergency doctors were recruited to FMC, allowing 12 beds in the Emergency Extended Care Unit (EECU) to come online - doubling its previous capacity.

SALHN Emergency Departments Clinical Director, Associate Professor Andrew Blyth, said the SHEP plan would significantly increase SALHN’s ED footprint. “It will improve access to treatment spaces for all patients presenting to the ED and is part of ongoing work to minimise the wait time and improve care for patients attending the department.”

“Phase one of works has now begun on the southern side of the ED, with construction expected to be completed by April and phase two on the northern side to begin shortly after,” A/Prof Blyth said.

“This is an exciting time for health in the south and we appreciate the understanding of both staff and patients during this time as we work extremely hard to continue the delivery of high quality care in a more modern environment, despite the minor disruptions throughout the construction period.”

The Flinders Medical Centre ED will remain operational while work is underway, with plans to minimise interruptions to service delivery in place.

Works are expected to be completed by July.

90,080 was the number of presentations to FMC Emergency Department in 2019/2020.