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Surgeons oppose Transforming Health because of risk to patient safety

After a survey of surgeons revealed that 84% do not support the implementation of Transforming Health, Minister Snelling must immediately release data to support his claim that opposition is merely 5% or stand condemned for peddling propaganda.

Only last Wednesday in Parliament, Minister Snelling explicitly reaffirmed his claim that 95 per cent of clinicians support Transforming Health: “I do believe 95 per cent of clinicians who work in the health system support it.”

However, this flies in the face of a survey by the Royal College of Surgeons which has found that the plan is opposed by 84% of surgeons – not 5%.

More than two thirds of surgeons regard the plan as a risk to patient safety.

Shadow Minister for Health, Stephen Wade, said that the Minister has repeatedly claimed that the plan is clinician-led.

“The Transforming Health team has admitted that clinician engagement is vital for the success of health reform,” said Mr Wade.

“Now with less than half of the surgeons even supporting the principles of the plan, the Government needs to stop the spin and abandon its crude attempt to foist its centrally driven health cuts plan onto the South Australian health system.”

Respondents to the Royal College of Surgeons survey raised “concerns about the way that Transforming Health was developed, with a feeling that it has been created by a select group of clinicians and that there has been limited meaningful consultation with the rest of the surgical community”.

The survey by the Royal College of Surgeons has shown that:

  • 84% have major concerns and do not support the implementation process for Transforming Health;
  • 71% indicated they have concerns with patient safety;
  • 81% indicated their concern with patient access to surgical services;
  • 74% indicated their concern with training of our future surgeons; and,
  • 49% support the principles of Transforming Health.

SASMOA and AMA have also reported widespread concern amongst their members.

Last week, the President of the Salaried Medical Officers Association, Dr David Pope challenged the 95% claim saying “from what we see there’s overwhelming concern about these changes that are being made”.

In her College newsletter editorial, last Thursday, College Chair Sonja Latzel, said:

“Of significant concern to surgeons in units facing downgrading or closure, is the capacity of the remaining system to absorb the patients they currently care for. There is very limited evidence of any increased capacity created within the system to deal with these patients. Once again, the answer from the TH team is that increased efficiency will allow for more patients to be treated utilising fewer beds. We are unsure of how this is to be achieved, or if even they know the answer.”