February 19

Royal Adelaide Hospital Saved

Amid ongoing controversy, the South Australian Government has decided to  retain the name, "Royal Adelaide Hospital" for a planned new major public hospital to replace the existing hospital. This is to open in 2016 on a new site in Adelaide.

According to the ABC, the government had previously vowed not to change its chosen name – the Marjorie Jackson-Nelson – which was to honour the legendary Olympic athlete and later South Australian Governor.

With some doctors and other medical staff publicly lobbying to retain the current Royal Adelaide Hospital rather than build a new facility, the Government has now announced that the planned $1.7 billion hospital will retain the name the Royal Adelaide Hospital. 
The ABC says the backlash against the new facility and its name started from the time the hospital project was announced in June 2007. 

Opponents have been arguing it would be a better use of money to rebuild the Royal Adelaide Hospital on its present site. But the Government has argued it is more efficient to build a new facility and that it will take in some services currently operating from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at  Woodville. 

Some doctors had argued that the international reputation of the Royal Adelaide Hospital would be lost by using a different name.  The Premier Mike Rann  told Parliament some of the attacks have been personal against Mrs Jackson-Nelson, leading her to request that the planned hospital no longer bear her name. 

"Given these regrettable personal attacks it is understandable that Mrs Jackson-Nelson has asked me that the hospital project proceed without the dedication in her name to avoid, in her words, controversy continuing about a project that can only benefit South Australia," he said. 

The Opposition's health spokeswoman, Vickie Chapman, says the Liberals have never personally attacked Mrs Jackson-Nelson and the Government is blame-shifting. 

"I think the Government needs to apologise and particular the Premier for dragging the Governor, our former Governor, into an issue which has clearly been demonstrated as objectionable to the public of South Australia," she said. 

The Save the Royal Adelaide Hospital committee says it is pleased the  Government bowed to public pressure and scrapped the intended name. Committee member Jim Katsaros says he applauds the decision but objects to the move. 

"It's not only the doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who are sceptical about the move away from the current site," he said. "I think the people of South Australia are also sceptical and want to retain the Royal Adelaide Hospital at the present site." 

The South Australian Medical Association says the name change for the new hospital will allow the Royal Adelaide Hospital's legacy to live on. Association's president Peter Ford says the Royal Adelaide Hospital is internationally renowned. 

"Doctors and people in general probably would be supportive of continuing the tradition and the name and the reputation of that institution," he said. "So in saying that, it is not a reflection of course of our former Governor, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson." 


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