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The Health Budget’s cruellest cut

The Health Minister Jack Snelling has admitted in State Parliament that he is intending to cut some 840 acute hospital beds from South Australia’s struggling hospital system as the Weatherill Government slashes health spending.

In Parliament yesterday, Minister Snelling said:

Well, our ratio is 2.6 and the Australian average is about, I think from memory, 2.1. So we have significantly more hospital beds for our population size—acute hospital beds—than other states and, in fact, any other Australian state or, indeed, territory. I make no secret of the fact that I would like to see that brought down to closer to what the national average is. (Hansard 30/06/2015)

“South Australians needing hospital care will face longer waiting times for a bed, in a system with fewer doctors, nurses and orderlies at a time when our ageing population needs more hospital resources, not less,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“Health Minister Jack Snelling is going to slash the number of doctors, nurses and hospital beds in a health system that is currently unable to cope with the current level of demand.

“The Institute of Health and Welfare shows there are 4700 beds in South Australian hospitals. That will produce the loss of some 840 beds on Minister Snelling’s calculations.

“Based on typical staffing rates the loss of 840 beds would result in the loss of up to 170 doctors and 620 nurses.

“Minister Snelling needs to detail how many beds, nurses and doctors are going to be closed in each of the surviving metropolitan hospitals.

“On the Weatherill Government’s own figures the closure of the Repat will produce a net loss of 200 beds from the Repat.

“Where exactly are the other hospital beds going to be closed?

“The cuts come despite the Weatherill Government benefiting from unbudgeted GST inflows of $284m this financial year.”