Hours before heading off on 4 weeks leave, South Australia’s embattled Health Minister Jack Snelling has quietly released a damning assessment of the State’s Health System.
Yesterday the Health Performance Council’s Review of the South Australian Health System Performance for 2011-2014 was quietly tabled in Parliament – three months after it was completed.
“Jack Snelling is trying to bury this critical report because it exposes the fatal flaw at the heart of his health cuts plan,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.
The Council’s Review is highly critical of the Labor Government’s focus on hospitals at the expense of preventative and primary health services:
Despite convincing evidence from around the world there is a focus on hospital performance rather than prevention or primary care services. Primary health care and early intervention services appear not to be valued as an integral part of the health system’s efforts to achieve health for all.
“It is outrageous that this Review was not available during the consultation period on Labor’s health cuts plan and that the Minister goes on leave the day after he quietly dropped it in State Parliament,” Mr Wade said.
The 85-page report adds significant weight to the growing chorus of concerns about the Weatherill Government’s decision to close or downgrade metropolitan hospitals and highlights its failure to participate in an open and transparent debate with consumers, health professionals and other interested parties.
As Anne Dunn, the Chair of the Health Performance Council, writes at the start of the report:
The health system does not embrace consumer and community engagement and the benefits gained from greater transparency and public accountability for its performance. We have detected a defensive tone when feedback is provided and this is also reported by the community sector.
The Review also makes it plain that after 13 years of Labor Government’s many vulnerable South Australians are missing out on health services:
The health system fails to focus as much on vulnerable groups as it ought.