South Australia has been given a sneak peek at the cutting-edge designs for the state’s upcoming $120 million ambulance headquarters and co-located Adelaide station.
The ambitious project encompasses a 6,700 square-meter, two-story ambulance Emergency Operations Centre, complete with a State Health Coordination Centre. Additionally, there will be a 1,500 square-meter Adelaide ambulance station and garage within the facility’s premises.
Situated on Richmond Road at Mile End South, the city-fringe location offers more space compared to the aging Greenhill Road headquarters. This move was initially promised by the Labor party during last year’s state election.
“Building a new SAAS HQ and Adelaide station was a key election commitment and we are delivering on that,” Minister for Health & Wellbeing Chris Picton says.
“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Zero calls and the dispatchers coordinating life-saving ambulance responses currently operate from a facility that is outdated, inadequate and not disaster-resilient.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.”
The cutting-edge designs prioritise several crucial features, such as ensuring secure 24/7 operations, post-disaster functionality, and seamless integration of Triple Zero emergency call and dispatch capabilities.
What makes this development even more significant is the establishment of the State Health Coordination Centre within the new headquarters. Currently operating temporarily at Tonsley, this center will provide a continuous system-wide overview of patient movements and hospital capacity.
The purpose-built headquarters will be home to 143 personnel responsible for responding to ambulance Triple Zero activity. The facility has been designed to accommodate future staff and infrastructure expansion. It will also house dedicated rooms for training and managing major incidents, including natural disasters, large-scale accidents, and outbreaks.
As part of the effort to strengthen ambulance operations, the government has hired ten additional dispatchers, with plans to recruit five more by mid-2024. Furthermore, critical operational services will be incorporated into the design to support rostering for over 3,000 operational staff and volunteers and provide technical support for seamless 24/7 ambulance responses, whether by phone, road, or air.
The project also includes provisions for future expansion and adjustments in technology, functions, and operations while minimizing disruptions to ongoing activities.
Alongside the headquarters, a new Adelaide ambulance station is in the works. It will serve as the base for 16 paramedics scheduled to join in July 2024, another 16 in July 2025, as well as the 24-paramedic Ashford crews. The station will have the capacity to accommodate seven ambulances and two light fleet vehicles, ensuring additional coverage without impacting local crews.
The station will house a purpose-built training facility, designed to support the ongoing skills development of the state’s paramedic interns.
Outside the facility, larger secured parking will be available for nearly 240 vehicles, complemented by landscaped areas and outdoor rest spaces.
Plans for this monumental project have been submitted to the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP), and public consultation is scheduled to commence shortly. The project will enter the tendering phase in January, with early construction activities anticipated to commence in late March.
The entire project is slated for completion by late 2025, marking a significant milestone in South Australia’s emergency response capabilities.
“This will be the largest single project in our Operational Growth Plan, and this milestone is incredibly important,” SAAS Acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Lemmer says.
“The submission to the state’s planning authority, upon approval, marks an exciting milestone in this transformative service project.”