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Cut health bureaucracy not health services

The Weatherill Labor Government should be taking the axe to its exploding health bureaucracy, not closing hospitals and downgrading emergency departments, according to the State Liberals.

Shadow Minister for Health, Stephen Wade, used Auditor-General’s data to reject State Government claims that they were investing in administrators providing frontline support.

Auditor-General’s figures show that the central health bureaucracy has grown by a whopping 158% over the last ten years - that’s four times faster than the rate of growth of the nursing workforce (43%).

Head office has grown from around 800 positions in 2005 to more than 2100 positions this year.

Data obtained by Family First under Freedom of Information show that senior executives have more than doubled from 21 to 44.

“The Weatherill Government’s Transforming Health plan highlights its warped priorities and lack of focus on better health outcomes for South Australians” Mr Wade said.

“Rather than address burgeoning bureaucracy, Labor is taking the scalpel to frontline services, closing the Repat Hospital and downgrading Emergency Departments at the Noarlunga, Modbury and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals.

“A bloated health bureaucracy not only sucks dollars out of frontline services, it weighs down doctors, nurses and others health practitioners and stops them from getting on with caring for patients.”

In a submission to the Transforming Health process, the South Australian Salaried Medical Officers Association warned that “an ever increasing need to fight the bureaucracy of SA Health over a relentless stream of new bureaucratic processes and controls” had become a “daily” challenge for doctors that was “undermining the care and the doctor’s ability to provide efficient and safe care to patients.”

From time to time, State Labor pays lip service to efficient and effective services.

On 29 October 2012, when SA Health employed 1,984 (FTE employees), then Labor Health Minister Hill reported that 52 of these positions would be cut. However, less than two years later, the total number of bureaucrats employed by the Department had actually grown to 2175 an increase of 191 FTEs.