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Snelling shoots the messenger

The State Liberals have accused the Health Minister Jack Snelling of trying to shoot the messenger about increasing threats to patient safety as his Government pushes ahead with its controversial plan to open the new Royal Adelaide Hospital at the height of this year’s severe flu season.

Yesterday, the Australian Medical Association provided Minister Snelling with strong evidence of the concern of frontline clinicians that EPAS, the Government’s problem-plagued electronic patient record system, is a real risk to patient safety.

“Presented with evidence from front-line clinicians about EPAS’ serious flaws, Minister Snelling chose to attack the credibility of the Australian Medical Association suggesting the organization was full of ‘serial whingers’,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“It is nothing short of disgraceful that Minister Snelling is refusing to take the AMA’s concerns about threats to patient safety seriously.

“Minister Snelling also dismisses the threat this year’s surging number of flu cases poses to patient safety in the light of his plan to move into the nRAH on the 5th of September.

“There are now almost a thousand more flu cases than there were at the same time in 2015 when South Australia last faced a severe flu season.

“In early August 2015 there has been 5339 flu cases, whereas this year that number is already 6203.

“If this trend continues, we are going to have many more than the 15,659 flu cases that hit in 2015 and pushed our public hospitals to breaking point.

“In 2015 the Health Minister Jack Snelling explicitly ruled out opening the new hospital in winter, admitting that it would be ‘foolhardy and dangerous’ to do so (The Advertiser, 18 September 2015).

“Now in the middle of an even worse flu season he is planning to move into the nRAH when recent history suggests flu notifications are likely to peak.

“The move to the nRAH now comes with a level of risk to patient safety that is not acceptable.”