Shadow Minister for Health, Rob Lucas, said today that another major financial scandal was brewing in SA Health over the $400 million plus EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) IT project.
It is now clear Minister Snelling is desperate to keep a ‘lid on’ this looming scandal until after the March 2014 election.
Mr Snelling was forced to admit at the Estimates Committee that the project had blown out by at least $14 million from $408 million to $422 million because he had forgotten to include CPI increases to the total project cost.
However the State Liberals have been advised that the cost impact of EPAS on the budget assumes significant savings being achieved by legacy IT systems being closed and staffing numbers being cut. The minister has recently appointed another highly paid consultant to review these increased costs.
It is now apparent that, as with Shared Services and other IT projects, these assumed savings will not be achieved.
This will obviously lead to a further significant blowout in the cost impact of EPAS on the budget.
EPAS already has a controversial history as it was originally intended to be rolled out to all hospitals – that has now been reduced to just 12 hospitals.
This means the Weatherill Labor Government is spending more money to deliver EPAS to far fewer hospitals than originally promised.
Other problems with EPAS include:
• Minister Snelling has not revealed that there has been a further delay of at least 11 months to May 2015 in the expected completion date of the rollout to 12 hospitals;
• The rollout to the Repatriation Hospital, Pt Augusta Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital prior to March 2014 is unlikely to occur;
• Some consulting firms, such as Zed Consulting which were brought in to help manage the project, have already been paid more than $2 million;
• Significant questions are now being raised as to whether EPAS will deliver all the benefits originally claimed; and
• Minister Snelling has had to appoint yet another senior executive (Director- E-Health Programmes) to help resolve the IT chaos in his department.
This Health IT disaster comes ‘hot on the heels’ of a $40 million blowout in Oracle which is another Health IT project.
Oracle was originally going to cost $23 million, but the actual cost blew out to $43.7 million and the $15 million that was going to be saved has not been achieved.
“South Australian families will be furious at Premier Weatherill and Minister Snelling’s financial mismanagement and waste of tens of millions of dollars at a time when the Minister is already closing or cutting so many programs and services across the board,” said Shadow Minister for Health Rob Lucas.