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Snelling’s hospital chaos

Health Minister Jack Snelling needs to apologise to South Australians for his disastrous decision to move the Royal Adelaide Hospital at the height of the flu season.

“The decision to open at the height of the flu season was driven by political considerations at the expense of patient safety,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“The consequences of the Minister for Health’s political gamble are now being felt by patients right across Adelaide’s chaotic public hospital system.

“Taxpayers and subscribers will now get a two-tier ambulance service because Jack Snelling chose to move the Royal Adelaide at the peak of winter.

“The Weatherill Government’s scrambling for excuses has been laughable – unnecessary presentations, retirement of GP’s and avoiding co-payments have all been offered as explanations; none of them emerged last week.

“What the Minister won’t mention is the elephant in the room – flu notifications and hospitalisation usually peak in September, precisely when the Government chose to move the hospital.”

Data released at the end of the week shows that:

- flu notifications continue to rise – the last four weeks have been double the four weeks prior

- there have been 12,187 cases of influenza notified to day this year, almost 5 times the level of last year

- year-to-date notifications have already surpassed the whole year totals for four of the past five years.

Australia is on track for the country’s highest flu notifications on record.[1]

“The figures make a mockery of Premier Weatherill’s claims that moving the Royal Adelaide Hospital in September would miraculously duck the peak flu season,” said Mr Wade.

Premier Weatherill said that ‘our projections were that there is a lull about September and that’s obviously what we’re planning on.’ [2]

The Weatherill Government said it was planning for a peak in July and a dip in August, September, and then another peak in October/November.” [3]

“If the Weatherill Government’s clinical advice is that there is another peak in October and November, why would they countenance closing the Repat”, Mr Wade said.

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[1] Neelima Choahan and Fergus Hunter “‘Worst ever’ flu epidemic claims more lives amid calls for mandatory jabs for aged care workers’” - http://www.smh.com.au/national/worst-ever-flu-epidemic-claims-more-lives-amid-calls-for-mandatory-jabs-for-aged-care-workers-20170902-gy9h5s.html

[2] ABC Radio News, 10 July 2017

[3] ABC TV News, 8 May 2017