Labor Health Minister Jack Snelling must take full responsibility for the crisis engulfing the ambulance service which threatens to derail the move to the nRAH.
Jack Snelling has failed to properly resource our ambulance service and when faced with warnings of a service in crisis chose to splurge half million dollars on feel good advertisements promoting the new RAH, neglecting front-line health workers.
“Labor’s appalling priorities have left ambulance officers stressed and increased the risk to patients,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.
“The Ambulance Association believes that two patients have died due to ambulance service failures.
“Ambulance officers have repeatedly warned Labor was not recruiting enough ambulance officers to meet the growth in demand, or the impact of increased patient transfers with hospital downgrades under Transforming Health.”
Five weeks ago, Phil Palmer from the Ambulance Employees Association warned Jack Snelling that the ambulance services were at breaking point, that SA Health and his Government were “on notice”, and this the Minister had no time to lose if he wanted the new Royal Adelaide Hospital to open in September:
“… if we don’t believe it’s safe, we’ll be recommending to our members that we don’t support [the move to the new RAH]. … We don’t believe under the current workload that we can actually spare any ambulances at all [for the move]. We don’t think there’s the capacity and we’ve told Government this…. We’ve been telling them this for a long time.” (Phil Palmer, Interview with Leon Byner, 5AA, 19 June 2017)
“While our ambulance service cried out for help, Minister Snelling instead put $450,000 into a feel-good advertising campaign,” said Mr Wade.
“Jack Snelling’s Transforming Health plan significantly increased the pressure on a service already under stress.
“Two and a half years ago, Jack Snelling promised a significant investment in ambulance staff and vehicle numbers but has failed to deliver.”
On 2 February 2015, Snelling said:
“We will need more paramedics, support staff and ambulances to make sure the ambulance service can match the reconfigured health system” (Jack Snelling, Media Release)
“Jack Snelling’s refusal to face up to the reality of Transforming Health’s dangerous and unsustainable workload has left Ambulance Officers with no choice but to take targeted industrial action,” said Mr Wade.
“The action may result in around 1 in 6 of the State’s ambulance fleet being taken off the road – more than 50 ambulance vehicles that Labor has failed to properly maintain or which are no longer fit for service.”