Health Minister John Hill has been embarrassed by SA Health Chief Executive David Swan’s revelation job cuts were actually much greater than indicated by Mr Hill.
In evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee today, Mr Swan revealed budget cuts meant there would be 1,200 FTE job cuts this year, in addition to hundreds more required to meet further budget costs in the next 3 years:
“The CHAIRPERSON: But at this stage it is 1,200 for this year and an indeterminate number for each of the forward estimate years? That is still being worked through in terms of discussions with Treasury and the Mid-Year Budget Review. Is that a fair reflection?
Mr SWAN: That’s a fair reflection.”
“Given this year’s budget savings task is $169 million and that grows to $500 million per year by 2015/16 it is clear the total FTE job cuts in health will likely be more than 2,000,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
“Mr Swan confirmed about 60 per cent of Health’s total budget was spent on staff salaries so clearly it is impossible to cut $500 million from the budget without significant job cuts.”
Whilst Mr Swan has confirmed 1,200 FTE job cuts for 2012/13 Minister Hill claimed in Parliament on 30 October 2012 the number of job cuts for 2012/13 was about half that total –
“We have a 2012-13 full-time equivalent savings target of 675.96. That is comprised of a full-time equivalent growth target of 339.2, which represents growth in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 budget savings initiatives, and the unachieved component from 2011-12, which was 336.76.” (Minister Hill, Hansard, 30/10/12)
“Minister Hill has now been caught out spinning his political line on health job cuts and he must come clean and explain why his Chief Executive has confirmed job cuts required are 1,200 this year and not the 676 the Minister claimed in Parliament,” Mr Lucas said.
In other evidence Mr Swan indicated:
• Health was 711 FTE over its Treasury imposed cap of 29,924 at 30 June 2012.
• A majority of the 350 job cuts announced by Minister Hill last month would be nursing positions.
• Health over-spending last year was actually $177 million and not the previously indicated $125 million.
• Treasury was still considering details of how the process for selling hospital car parks would be conducted.
• Investigations were still being conducted into officers implicated in “Cartridgegate” and “Foodgate”.
• Commissioner for Public Employment Warren McCann, who has undertaken a number of health-related reviews for the Premier, had never raised the issue of public hospital closures in discussions with Health officers.