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Health cuts under parliamentary spotlight

The Weatherill Government’s plans to close the Repat and cut the Emergency Departments at the Queen Elizabeth, Modbury and Noarlunga Hospitals will be subject to intense scrutiny when State Parliament returns this week. 

 “The Weatherill Government’s Transforming Health Proposals Paper is little more than 44 pages of vague plans almost totally lacking in details, supporting evidence, timeframes, costings and health targets,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

As the Nurse’s Federation put it the day after the release, “there is an outrageous lack of substance to support the proposals” that leaves them with far more questions than answers.

The complete absence of detail in Transforming Health is totally at odds with Health Minister Jack Snelling’s previous commitments.

On 18 January 2015, in an update sent to SA Health staff, Minister Snelling wrote:

“I am committed to providing as much information as possible, including relevant underlying data, on the reasoning for the options being considered.”

On 28 January 2015, a 5AA news story included the following grab from Minister Snelling:

“The consultation paper which will say, spell out exactly everything that we have, everything that we believe we need to do to make our health system work better than it currently does. It’ll be laid out for people, people will have an opportunity to provide feedback and we have not made any final decisions.”

“The plan is so light that it cannot provide a basis for a meaningful conversation. It fuels fears that the plan is a budget cuts plan and cannot be justified on health grounds,” Shadow Minister Stephen Wade said.

“In the week since the release of the paper, the Weatherill Government has failed to provide more information in spite of widespread concern.

“How can communities trust the Weatherill Government’s radical mega-EDs proposal when the Government does not trust them enough to tell them how many extra patients will be diverted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre as a result of the cutting of ED services at the QEH, Modbury and Noarlunga Hospitals?

“The Weatherill Government’s approach to the community is insulting.

“Minister Snelling has also been dismissive of the community backlash to his plans – failing to attends yesterday’s protest on the steps of Parliament House and dismissing the 12,000 signatures on the Save the Repat petition as not worthy of comment.

“The community will not allow the Weatherill Government to inflict radical surgery on our health system without an open, fully informed discussion.

“The Weatherill Government’s failure to properly engage the community will only further stoke community anger at this dangerous plan.”