The South Australian Government has unveiled plans for a A$74m ($47.69m) upgrade for Noarlunga Hospital to address the growing demand in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

This overhaul has been designed by local architecture studios, Wilshire Swain Architects and GHDWoodhead. It will add 48 new beds, increasing the total number of beds from 92 to 140.

The bottom floor will feature 24 new beds for mental health rehabilitation while the top floor will house a 24-bed Inpatient Medical Unit, including special rooms for infectious diseases and bariatric patients.

In addition, 72 new parking spaces and an enclosed linkway will be built.

The project is said to coincide with the opening of a new Medicare Urgent Care Centre in Marion.

It is stated that, to improve patient care and reduce hospital stays, more pharmacists and allied health professionals will work on weekends at Flinders Medical Centre.

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These initiatives aim to alleviate pressure on the state’s healthcare system and ambulance response times have already seen improvements, with a decrease in time spent on ambulance ramps.

Responses to Priority 1 and Priority 2 calls have shown improved timeliness compared to the previous year.

Member of the South Australian House of Assembly Chris Picton said: “This major upgrade will increase capacity by more than 50% at Noarlunga Hospital to deliver much needed hospital beds for the South.

“More acute care and mental health beds is welcome news for the community and will alleviate demand on Flinders Medical Centre and improve flow from emergency departments in both hospitals.

“This major investment will allow more people to receive care closer to home and is one of the many measures we are taking to build capacity in the health system and reduce ramping.

“We’re getting on with the job and making massive investments in extra hospital beds, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.”