A later completion date means the changeover from the existing RAH site could happen during the state’s flu season and one of the hospital’s busiest months.
In a letter to NRAH project director Judith Carr, developer SA Health Partnership says it will formally ask the government for a three-month extension to the hospital’s final delivery date from April to mid-July 2016.
Reasons given include the unexpected time it took to clean up the worse-than-expected soil contamination at site, on the former North Tce railyards.
Ms Carr said a revised “master works” building update from the developers also revealed the project was tracking to be finished more than three months late.
But SA Health chief executive David Swan told a Royal Adelaide Hospital budget and finance committee he remained optimistic the hospital would be finished on time.
“(We) are not anticipating a delay,” he said.
“We are aiming for April (2016) and that’s what we’re working on.”
Minister Jack Snelling said he believed SA Health Partnership was working towards the April 2016 handover date.
“They have not said anything to me privately that they have not said publicly,” he said.
“I can only go on their public assurances that April 2016 will be the handover date.
“(But) if they were to come to us seeking a revised delivery date, then that is something we would give consideration to.”
Opposition health spokesman Stephen Wade said the new date was a “real concern” and the “worst month” to shift operations from the current site to the new one.
“One of the real concerns about a delay could be that we could well be doing the transfer in the middle of the flu season,” he said.
“This year, it was the middle of August when we peaked with flu admissions and the Government is now facing having to transfer people to the new site during August.”
The State Government also faces paying developers up to $30 million in remediation costs for cleaning up the soil contamination on site.
“We had confirmation today that the dispute between the government and the builders is over $30 million in remuneration costs that the builder is claiming that they should be compensated for,” Mr Wade said.
“The fact of the matter is if you plan well, you plan for risks, you plan for time shifts.”
Committee chairman Rob Lucas questioned panellists, including Mr Swan, over
a document which outlined the possible relocation of some gynaecological services to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Mr Lucas said this was despite the fact Health Minister Jack Snelling made assurances services would not be cut from the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Central Adelaide Local Health Network chief executive officer David Panter said gynaecologists supported the move.
“Our gynaecologists came up with the proposal … splitting (some services) to the Queen Elizabeth campus in order to provide better access for elective surgery,” he said.
“The result of those discussions (was) that all gynaecologists committed to the plan that we should be looking at simple procedures at the QEH and we still have a range of gynaecological services at the Royal Adelaide.”
Mr Snelling said no decision had been made on the transfer of gynaecology services.