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Weatherill Government plans to stack up TQEH do not stack up

A multi-party Select Committee has unanimously called on the Weatherill Government to stop, postpone and recast its plans to compress Hampstead rehabilitation services into the TQEH site.

Far from being ‘clinician-led’, the Committee strongly condemned the Weatherill Government for the “seriously deficient” way it has engaged with consumers and clinicians.

In a unanimous report – tabled in State Parliament this week – the Transforming Health Select Committee has found that SA Health’s consultation on rehabilitation service changes “has been characterised by predetermined outcomes, a culture of secrecy and a lack of openness and transparency.”

Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade said “the Parliamentary Committee report makes clear and strong criticisms of a flagship Government project and its recommendation are unanimously endorsed by all members of the committee, including the Government member”.

“With the release of this report, another key member of the Labor Party with strong links to the western suburbs has broken ranks with his Party colleagues on the downgrading of the QEH.” Stephen Wade said.

“Following Mark Butler’s unprecedented attack on Health Minister Snelling’s plans for the QEH, the report sees another Labor MP deal a blow to the Government’s controversial and unpopular Transforming Health agenda.”

The Committee took evidence from more than 20 individuals, including 11 senior QEH and Hampstead clinicians, as well as consumer organisations Families4Families and Paraquad SA (the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia).

The Select Committee has recommended that the planned transfer of rehabilitation services to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – including associated capital works projects – remain on hold while they are recast with proper consultation and planning.

The Committee has also recommended that no Hampstead services be transferred to the QEH until the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is open and operating effectively and for short-term capital funding to be provided, if needed, to enable the current level of services provided at Hampstead to be maintained.