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Does Snelling give a squat?

Health Minister Jack Snelling has made an extraordinary outburst in State Parliament claiming ‘the public doesn’t give a squat’ about national Emergency Departments standards.

“I can assure the Minister that the people of southern Adelaide are deeply concerned that they retain a real Emergency Department at Noarlunga Hospital,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“The Minister’s dismissive attitude to community concerns suggests that his recent comments about reconsidering his plans for Noarlunga Hospital are a ploy to buy time.

“The Minister’s comments suggest that the range of emergencies dealt with at Noarlunga will be reduced. This is not acceptable to the people of the South – they want a full service Emergency Department.

The Minister’s ignorance of Emergency Department operations adds further weight to calls from the AMA for the consultation period be extended because “giving the community only three and a half weeks to respond to the complex changes proposed in Transforming Health is insulting and leaves them in the dark.” (AMA media release 25/02/15)

Nor is the AMA the only important stakeholder demanding an extension of time for the woefully inadequate consultation period.

Medical practitioners, the Onkaparinga Council, Save the FMC NICU group, John Darley MLC and members of the general public have all called for the consultation period to be extended.

“It is staggering that the Weatherill Government has set aside five weeks for consultation on the extension of the O-Bahn but can only spare three and half weeks to consult on its radical health cuts plan,” said Mr Wade.

“The fact that just 3 community meetings have been scheduled during this woefully inadequate consultation period is particularly telling.

“SA Health scheduled 39 public community events when there were no concrete proposals to discuss but just 3 when calling for consultation on its plans to close the Repatriation General Hospital, Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, Noarlunga ED and Flinders NICU.

“The Minister needs to end this sham consultation – give the community all the facts and a realistic timeframe.”