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Transforming Health Brawl Goes Public

The most vocal advocate of the Labor Government’s Transforming Health plan has openly slammed the recently announced changes to plans for TQEH cardiac services as a political decision motivated by the looming State Election.

An audio recording has emerged of Transforming Health Clinical Ambassador Professor Dorothy Keefe describing Labor’s chaotic change as a big blow for health reform, contrary to the evidence and contrary to the advice of the “the clinician leads in the system and the clinician leads in Transforming Health”.

“There is growing evidence that Labor’s dangerous hospital cuts plan is degenerating into chaos as Labor’s abandons its charade of clinician-led reform and the health bureaucracy fights back,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“Health Minister Jack Snelling has pointedly and repeatedly refused to commit to the full restoration of cardiac services at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital that the Premier promised.

“Now his lieutenant, Professor Keefe, is joining in on the attack.

“In the five weeks since this announcement there has been no action by SA Health to implement the Premier’s commitment to retain all cardiology and other specialist services at TQEH.

“Very senior health bureaucrats have told staff that they have other priorities for the resources needed for the TQEH.

“Barely a month ago, in the days leading up to the Budget, Premier Weatherill said that cardiac, respiratory and cancer services would be restored at TQEH.”

In relation to cardiac services, the Premier explicitly committed to the ‘continuation of the current service’ (Press Conference, 18 June 2017).

“Before Transforming Health there were two fully functional cardiac catheterisation laboratories, around 30 cardiac beds, with Intensive Care Unit support,” said Mr Wade.

“The rushed and chaotic changes to Transforming Health that were announced in the lead up to the release of the State Budget cannot be trusted.

“Labor’s hospital plans are sneaky and designed to trick voters in the lead up to an election.

“The people of the West cannot trust Labor to deliver on its commitments.”

Speech Excerpt:

“What they also did was decide not to implement one of our reforms and that particular reform that they decided not to implement was that the evidence shows and the clinician leads in the system and the clinician leads in Transforming Health all agreed that we are only big enough in this state for three sites to do cardiac catheterisation but for political reasons six months out or eight months out from an election the Government decided that they would change that to the four sites that we have and of course that’s a big blow when you are trying to say that this is all quality driven and community led and all the rest of it and so it is a big time for thinking how is this going to work – do we throw up our hands in horror and walk away – and of course the answer is no, we don’t do that. Because actually I hope that I’ve shown you that we’ve done about 80% of what we said we would do. We have realigned the building blocks so that we can put the care in the right places. We’ve designed these statewide models of care that are having an impact on length of stay and morbidity and quality outcomes.

“So having a tantrum about the Government deciding that they are going to change the decision would be really stupid. What we have to do is say OK we didn’t get 100% of what we wanted but we got 80% and that has made a difference to the state."