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Health cuts to go under the microscope

All non-Labor parties of the Legislative Council today announced that they will move to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate the Weatherill Government’s controversial Transforming Health agenda.

“The closure of the Repat, the downgrading of the QEH, Noarlunga and Modbury emergency departments and the closure of hundreds of acute hospital beds threatens the integrity of South Australia’s public hospital system” said Shadow Minister for Health, Stephen Wade.

Kelly Vincent said that “as the first party to bring concerns to the Parliament in February, naturally Dignity for Disability welcomes this opportunity to explore the health, social and financial impact of the state government’s plan.”

“Seven months after the plan was announced we still have only a broad stroke sketch of the Government’s plans for our hospitals,” Mr Wade said.

The announcement comes the day after petitions with 85,000 signatures were tabled in State Parliament.

“The Committee will provide a forum for hospital staff and patients to explain how the Weatherill Government’s health cuts are impacting on the patient care being provided by our public hospital system.”

As Greens MP, Tammy Franks, put it “If this is to be the biggest reform to our state’s health system in our lifetime then surely we deserve the scrutiny of our parliamentary democratic processes to ensure we get it right and that all voices, not just the loudest voices, are heard.”

Stephen Wade said “I expect that the first issue that the Committee will address will be the decision to move the PTSD ward from Repat to Glenside.

“Serious questions have been raised about the process, including concern that the Expert Panel was not allowed to consider the range of options to ensure the best health outcome for veterans.

“The Parliament has an obligation to provide critical, ongoing oversight of the potentially chaotic impact of the Weatherill Government’s plan to deliver deep funding cuts to South Australia’s health system. The Committee will test the veracity of the Health Minister’s claims that Transforming Health will deliver better health care for less money.”