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Concerns Raised Over Risks for Patients and Staff in Australian Hospital

A report on the condition of The Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide in Australia has raised serious questions on the risks both the patients and the staff there are exposed to every day.

Titled The Case for Change, it reveals a litany of problems with ageing facilities in two of the hospital's oldest buildings and it describes infection control as a "critical risk".

It states: "WCH is experiencing immediate facilities, infrastructure and related services issues that are exposing patients, families and staff to high levels of risk and reducing service capability."

The Women's and Children's Hospital is one of the major hospitals in Adelaide and is a teaching hospital of the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

The report, commissioned by the South Australian state authorities, focuses on the Good Friday and Gilbert buildings, which house services including medical in-patient facilities, general medicine and renal medicine.

Titled, The Case for Change report outlines widespread problems, including:

INFECTION control represents a critical risk "as a result of the outdated and poor condition of the current facilities and infrastructure". The risk stems from insufficient isolation rooms, poor sewer and effluent drainage due to aged hydraulic systems, and ailing air-conditioning systems.

ASBESTOS within walls and ceilings represents a high risk to staff, parents and patients.

HIGH risk of electrical failure and loss of power, including in wards and dialysis areas.

HIGH risk of failure of the lifts.

HIGH risk of potential death or injury in the event of fire due to non-compliant systems.

OUTDATED design means nursing stations are "completely dysfunctional".

PATIENT rooms and consulting rooms are "grossly undersized" and wards and consulting spaces have no provision for disabled patients.
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