Symptoms are easy – elections are about recovery plans

South Australia’s health sector is on life support following Labor’s disastrous Transforming Health policy and all Nick Xenophon can do is monitor its heartbeat.

“Xenophon’s ‘health policy’ is a patchwork of policy platitudes offering no prescription for recovery,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.

“At least last week he was frank enough to say that he doesn’t pretend to have answers.  Now he’s just pretending.

“Mr Xenophon is backtracking on commitments already made. 

“Last week he wanted almost all country hospitals to be run by salaried doctors at an estimated cost of $37.5 million. This week he just wants to “increase the scope of medical services in regional hospitals”.

“Earlier in the campaign he announced $100m for palliative care – now he commits ‘to review the capacity of … palliative care … across the state to determine where additional resources are needed.’

Nick Xenophon’s plan to use the Repat as a community health centre shows that he does not understand the high-quality health assets on the site such as the Older Person’s Mental Health facility and the sophisticated rehabilitation clinics.

“Xenophon’s policy is so lacking in rigour that it religiously avoids dollar figures.  That’s lucky because the only one he uses he gets wrong.  He claims the State spends $3.6billion on health.  In fact, SA Health’s 2017-18 Budget is $5.948b – only a 40% underestimate.

“Xenophon has welched on one of the defining issues of the campaign – he fails to commit to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) being co-located with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

“The current location of the WCH in North Adelaide does not support best practice in contemporary health care for women.

“If a new mother in the WCH becomes seriously ill, she needs to be separated from her newborn child and transferred to another hospital where adult intensive care services are available”

“In an emergency, a gravely-ill child needs to be flown to the new RAH or another site and then transferred to the WCH by ambulance as there is no helipad at the North Adelaide site”.

“South Australians want a clear plan for tangible outcomes South Australians. 

“Restoring confidence in our health system is critical, but this can only be achieved through realistic, credible, and properly costed policies.

“Nick Xenophon wants to be Premier of this State, but he can’t provide any detail on the total cost of his health policy, how the proposed initiatives will be funded, or who will be responsible for managing the health system if he lands the top job”.

“Today, Nick Xenophon has made it clear that he is not fit to be Premier and that a vote for his team risks Labor slipping in the back door to continue the decade of mismanagement he claims to abhor.”