The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has written to the major political parties requesting that they commit to the construction of a specialist operating theatre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) in the next term of government.

The theatre, known as a hybrid suite, is a combined operating room that is used to perform complex and often lifesaving surgery in vascular, neurosurgical and cardiothoracic cases. A key advantage of the theatre’s additional complexity is the reduced need for patients transfers- a time when patients are at greatest risk.

RACS South Australia Chair Dr David King said that the hybrid suite has been a priority for many years and now was the perfect time to secure a commitment from both sides of politics before the March 19 election. 

“This equipment has become standard in the management of complex vascular surgical cases and major trauma, everywhere except South Australia. Every other state and territory have one, in some cases several, and for many years. They exist in the private sector in South Australia, but the states flagship hospital still lags behind. The State governments claims that the RAH will be world leading are just words without equipment like this”.

“We have been advocating for the hybrid suite right from the initial design stages of the RAH. We were disappointed by its omission from the hospital but have been heartened by the interest and goodwill that has been expressed subsequently.

“Unfortunately, we know from experience though that unless a firm commitment is given, these things can get tied up in business cases for years and subsequently delayed or forgotten about. This is a critical piece of infrastructure that our state’s flagship hospital needs now.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on our health system and economy, recent reports by reputable firms, such as Deloitte and EY, have highlighted the benefits to governments of investing in long-term infrastructure projects.

“We believe that the development of the hybrid operating theatres at the RAH would represent a major advancement for patient care, while also delivering economic opportunity and tangible world class facilities for South Australia. For a relatively modest investment this piece of infrastructure will be a major win for health care in South Australia.     

The calls for a hybrid suite were outlined as part of the RACS’ 2022 election priorities. As part of this document the College also advocated for a range of issues including the creation of emergency surgery targets, and long-term strategies to manage the backlog of elective surgery brought on by Covid-19.

The document was sent to both major parties for consideration in late 2021, and the responses have now been posted on the RACS website.
RACS CONTACT: (08) 8218 0922 or 0418 865 760.