The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Media Releases

Snelling must resolve South Coast doctor crisis

Friday, 17 May 2013

Premier Weatherill must ensure that Health Minister Jack Snelling stops procrastinating and resolves the rapidly escalating South Coast Doctor crisis.

More than 30 doctors that provide after hour care at the South Coast District Hospital at Victor Harbor and other medical services have quit because of funding disagreements with Country Health SA. These resignations will take effect from 12 July.

The Australian Medical Association, which is acting on behalf of the doctors, said today the Weatherill Labor Government had eight weeks to find a solution. After that, local ambulances would divert their patients to the already over-capacity Flinders Medical Centre.

Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas said Minister Snelling needed to work with the AMA and achieve a speedy resolution so that medical care was not put at risk.

“The AMA has advised there are a number of possible solutions, but the bottom line is these are essential services which must be saved,” Mr Lucas said.

“Minister Snelling has had plenty of time to sort this out – the negotiations between Country Health SA and the AMA started in 2011, but they are still unresolved two years later!

“The strain on locum services in the region has been well known since last year. It is both unreasonable and dangerous for doctors to possibly be on-call for up to 36 hours straight, as claimed by local doctors.

“Doctors are straining under the workload, which will worsen if Goolwa Medical Centre no longer provides emergency services.

“Mr Snelling is the Minister and the buck stops with him.

“Sadly, Minister Snelling’s failure to cut through the bureaucracy and show strong leadership on this issue is putting at risk the health of the South Coast community, which supports up to 25,000 people during summer.

“South Australians deserve a better government with the right priorities to get our State back on track – not amateur hour under the Weatherill Labor Government.”
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