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Newborn babies caught in WCH building work to get earmuffs

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital is getting an upgrade but it’s too loud for some of its tiniest patients. Thankfully help is on the way.

Brad Crouch, Health Reporter, The Advertiser

Twins Jake and Jude are given earmuffs to protect them from construction noise at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Picture: AAP / Keryn Stevens

Vulnerable newborn babies will be protected by tiny earmuffs as building work gets underway upgrading the Women’s and Children’s Hospital neonatal nurseries including its special care baby unit.

The work is part of a $50 million sustainment package to ensure the WCH remains a high quality care facility until the new WCH is built.

The work will include more isolation rooms, twin rooms, a new parent lounge and family care unit.

Women’s and Children’s Hospital chief executive Lindsey Gough said it is vital to maintain top quality infrastructure on the site while the new hospital is planned and built.

“It is important we have these facilities because we treat some of the smallest and most vulnerable babies in the state,” she said.

“We make sure our patients and families are kept as comfortable as possible, including providing tiny earmuffs for our patients if required.”

Kate and Daniel Lees of Seaton are comfortable with their twins Jake and Jude wearing the earmuffs if needed.

“We are in favour of the upgrade to help families like ours and are fine with the earmuffs – the staff here are wonderful and are taking every precaution,” Mrs Lees said.

The earmuffs have been available since last year as initial work commenced including relocation of offices.

Kate Lees with son Jake. Picture: AAP / Keryn Stevens

A redevelopment of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will follow the completion of the special care babies unit upgrade.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said the $50 million was an important investment in healthcare regardless of the hospital being scheduled for eventual closure.

“This $50 million is part of a $1 billion investment in health infrastructure by the Marshall Government to enhance patient care and ease pressure on EDs,” he said.

He dismissed speculation the economic impact of the bushfires could delay the new hospital.

However, he was unable to shed new light on several issues dogging SA Health including:

– The cost of the new WCH, saying a business case with final cost is scheduled to be received by the end of this year:

– The future of SA Health boss Dr Chris McGowan following an independent inquiry into whether he had a conflict of interest, with Mr Wade saying the report is with the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment;

– Recommendations of a taskforce report into what to do about alleged corruption in SA Health following a damning report by Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander QC which was supposed to be delivered by the end of 2019 — Mr Wade said there would be a response “in due course.”