Country Hospitals left in the Dark Ages

Last week’s State Budget contained no money for the promised upgrade of South Australia’s regional hospitals outdated patient record system.

The Weatherill Government previously promised to install a new integrated patient records system (EPAS) in more than 60 country hospitals as part of a statewide patient record system.

Now the Weatherill Government is planning to install the system in just 2 country hospitals despite the fact the cost of EPAS has doubled to more than $400 million since 2007.

As a result country hospitals are being left to rely on Chiron, a patient record system which was developed in the 1980’s, installed in the 1990s and went out of license on 31 March 2015.

“The Chiron patient administration computer system is so old that SA Health is the only organisation in the world continuing to use it," said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“The company that owns Chiron released a replacement product in 2003. By 2008 all other users had migrated from Chiron, leaving SA Health as the sole user for the past 7 years."

The Weatherill Government claims that “an alternative ... system is expected to be selected during 2015 which will continue to provide country South Australians with high quality health care”.

Clearly that’s not EPAS and once again Labor is locking in a two-tier system and treating country South Australians as second class citizens.

“The Weatherill Government is continuing to use Chiron in 60 hospitals despite the fact it no longer has either a licence or technical support for the product," Mr Wade said.

“The Government has been on notice for more than 2 years that the supplier was withdrawing its support for the Chiron system.

“The Weatherill Government’s hopeless mismanagement of the installation of EPAS has resulted in regional South Australian hospitals being left in the technological dark ages and at risk.”