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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Designs unveiled for new $120m ambulance and health hub

South Australians were today given a first look at designs for the state’s new $120 million ambulance headquarters and co-located Adelaide station.

The designs include a 6,700 sqm two-storey ambulance Emergency Operations Centre, including a State Health Coordination Centre, and a 1,500 sqm Adelaide ambulance station and garage.

The city-fringe site, on Richmond Road at Mile End South, is larger than the ageing Greenhill Road headquarters site. Key features include secure 24/7 operations, post disaster functionality and integrated Triple Zero emergency call and dispatch capabilities.

“This will be the largest single project in our Operational Growth Plan, and this milestone is incredibly important,” said SAAS Acting Chief Executive Officer, Paul Lemmer.

“Constructing a site that prioritises the wellbeing of staff and is fit for purpose for our Emergency Operations Centre teams is extremely important, acknowledging the demanding nature of their roles as they respond to the highest volume of Triple Zero calls in SA.

“Equally the new Adelaide station will help ambulance response times, while providing better care to South Australians and reducing demand on our existing crews.

“The submission to the state’s planning authority, upon approval, marks an exciting milestone in this transformative service project.”

The new HQ will also be home to the State Health Coordination Centre, which is temporarily operating out of Tonsley, to deliver a round-the-clock system-wide overview of patient movements and hospital capacity.

The purpose-designed headquarters will house the 143 personnel responsible for responding to ambulance Triple Zero activity – with room to grow staff and infrastructure in the future, the Government said in a statement.

There will also be dedicated rooms for training and handling major incidents including natural disasters, large-scale accidents, and outbreaks, it said.

Space for critical operational services will also be incorporated to facilitate the complex task of rostering more than 3,000 operational staff and volunteers and technical support for the facility – ensuring a seamless 24/7 ambulance response via phone, road, and air to South Australians.

The project allows for cold shell expansion space within the building design to accommodate anticipated growth to 2036 as well as future changes in technology, functions and operations, with minimal impact to ongoing operations.

Alongside the HQ will be the new Adelaide ambulance station. It will be home to the additional 16 paramedics due to come online in July 2024, and 16 paramedics in July 2025, as well as the 24-paramedic Ashford crews.

The station will accommodate seven ambulances and two light fleet vehicles, providing additional coverage and stopping surrounding crews being pulled away from their local areas.

There will be a purpose-built training facility within the station that will support the ongoing skills development of the state’s paramedic interns, ensuring they are getting the very best training.

Outside, there will be larger secured parking for almost 240 vehicles, nestled next to a landscaped area with ample outdoor rest areas.

“Building a new SAAS HQ and Adelaide station was a key election commitment and we are delivering on that,” said Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Chris Picton.

“The call takers we rely on to answer Triple Zero calls and the dispatchers coordinating life-saving ambulance responses currently operate from a facility that is outdated, inadequate and not disaster-resilient. We’re fixing that.

“We are also delivering a state-first health coordination centre equipped with a 24/7 overview of system demand for Local Health Networks and ambulances.

“This new headquarters is future-proof, with room to expand if necessary in years to come,” he said.

Plans have now been lodged with the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) with consultation to start soon.

The project will go to tender for a builder in January, with early works expected to start in late March and construction due for completion in late 2025.

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