The completion of the $2 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital could be delayed again after the builder requested more time.
The hospital was due to reach technical completion in April but the SA Health Partnership (SAHP) consortium has advised the government that won’t be achieved until May 25.
This has cast doubt on whether the long-awaited hospital will open to patients in November as scheduled.
The planned opening had already been delayed to avoid moving patients from the old Royal Adelaide Hospital during next winter’s flu season.
“We will move into the new Royal Adelaide Hospital when it is ready and safe to do so and for no other reason,” Health Minister Jack Snelling told parliament on Tuesday.
“My very strong advice is that the government is not exposed in any way in terms of the reasons for the delay. The liability would sit entirely with SAHP.”
Mr Snelling said the government was seeking independent advice on the delay, including whether the revised technical completion date could realistically be achieved.
Questions have been raised about safety on the massive project’s construction site after the death of two workers in separate incidents.
News of another possible delay has been pounced upon by Opposition Leader Steven Marshall, who was ejected from question time on Tuesday after taunting Mr Snelling.
Speaking after question time, Mr Snelling admitted the government would struggle to have the hospital open by the end of November.
“Seven weeks will be cutting it pretty fine,” he told reporters.
“There’s a whole number of things we need to do after commercial acceptance before it’s safe for us to start moving patients in.”