Snelling fails to act on SA Pathology

State Liberals claim that Jack Snelling has known about systemic problems in SA Pathology since he became the Minister and done nothing about it.

The Liberals referenced three independent reports dating back four years that highlighted the problem.

“The time for ad hoc reviews has passed – we need a full judicial inquiry into SA Health”, says State Liberal Leader, Steven Marshall.

The Opposition highlighted the failure of SA Health to deal with governance problems between Local Health Networks and SA Pathology which contributed to the chemotherapy dosing bungle.

Shadow Minister for Health, Stephen Wade, said “the problem was highlighted in a report received four years ago – and has still not been addressed”.

The independent review of the chemotherapy dosing bungle led by Professor Marshall highlighted confused accountability in pathology services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital:

The RAH seemed to have disorganised, ad hoc and in some cases – dysfunctional patterns of operation which were quickly made obvious during the review panel meetings. It was acknowledged by staff that the situation at the RAH was not right, and had been that way for a long time, yet still perpetuated without change. (para 108)

The review found that poor governance within SA Pathology and the Royal Adelaide Hospital contributed to the situation.  Reporting lines were confused.  The review called for a ‘rectification plan’ referencing the 2012 Brennan/Szer (“Governance of Clinical Services Conducted by SA Pathology Clinical Staff: A Review” Peter Brennan, Jeff Szer, June 2012).

 SA Health received the Brennan/Szer report in 2012 calling for Local Health Networks to purchase clinical capacity from SA Pathology through service level agreements, with a ‘rigorous framework of accountability’.

The recommendations were reiterated by a second external report in 2014 by Ernst and Young.

As far as the Marshall review panel could establish, these recommendations have not been progressed. (para 106)

Three years after a report calling for change, a report finds that poor governance which should have been addressed contributed to the adverse outcome.

“David Swan says that Ken Barr should be held responsible because he was at the helm of SA Pathology for three scandals.  On the same logic, Minister Snelling and Mr Swan should he held responsible for management failures in SA Health under their watch” says Stephen Wade.

“It is no longer acceptable for Minister Snelling to get angry and call another inquiry – he is part of the problem, he needs to go and we need a judicial inquiry in to SA Health”.