Transforming Health consultation period must be extended

The Weatherill Labor Government must extend the Transforming Health consultation period to allow the serious concerns about modelling used to cut emergency departments to be addressed.

The State Liberals have received another letter sent to Minister Snelling from a group of senior clinicians outlining their concerns over the Government’s plan to cut the Noarlunga emergency department:

“Mr Snelling, you have stated that more patients will die if they present to Noarlunga ED. We challenge you to produce the past Morbidity and Mortality figures from FMC and Noarlunga to back up this statement. We also request that you apologise (in public) for all the hurt that this statement has caused amongst our extremely dedicated, highly trained, passionate staff, who take great pride in their work.”

The lack of detail in the Weatherill Labor Government’s Transforming Health proposal and the Government’s lack of engagement remains a very serious concern.

The lack of detail includes:

  • No information on the impact on health sector jobs;
  • No modelling of patient flows – when the Noarlunga ED closes, how much will the workload of the Flinders ED increase? – the Government suggests 1%; Clinicians suggest at least 30%;
  • Scant details about new services – for example, what staffing and facilities will be available at the Noarlunga walk-in ‘emergency’ clinic?; and,
  • Conflicting information on how many babies will be diverted from the Flinders Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The lack of engagement includes:

  • The holding of only 3 community meetings on the proposals paper compared to 39 on the discussion paper last year – there are no meetings focused on the Repat, rehabilitation or Flinders NICU;
  • A narrowly focussed online feedback form – none of the questions relate to the future of the Repatriation General Hospital; and,
  • The active discouragement of staff - as they tell us - from expressing their views on the proposals.

“The southern suburbs need an emergency department and they need a government that is willing to listen to medical experts,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.