A Marshall Liberal Government will undertake major reform of country health so more decisions are taken closer to where services are delivered in rural and regional areas.
Under the plan, the existing Country Health SA Local Health Network would be broken up into between three and six new networks, with Boards reintroduced to govern each of these networks.
These Boards, with their Chief Executive Officers, will be given significant powers and responsibilities to manage health services. They will be provided with budgets and contracts together with requirements to meet key performance indicators.
“Country Health SA, which covers an area from Ceduna to Mt Gambier, is too big a bureaucracy to effectively manage the delivery of country health services,” said Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas.
“South Australia’s health system under the Weatherill Labor Government is acknowledged by most observers and stakeholders as one of the most centralised in the nation.
“There is widespread criticism of the fact virtually all decisions have to be referred to central office or the Minister rather than closer to where the services are being delivered.
“Labor’s metro-centric, bureaucratic approach to health has significantly reduced regional and rural community involvement, particularly fundraising for local hospitals.
“The State Liberals support greater local community involvement in health care, especially in regional areas, and believe a greater role for Health Advisory Boards (currently called Health Advisory Councils) is a mechanism to help achieve that goal.
“That is why over a period of four years we will return control of locally-raised funds to Health Advisory Boards. By no later than 2017/18, Health Advisory Councils will have regained the same level of control over locally-raised funds they had prior to the Labor Government’s changes.
“We will also loosen some of the restrictions currently imposed by Country Health SA on accessing funds raised by Health Advisory Boards.
“The State Liberals will also ensure Health Advisory Councils have access to hospital budgets and other information in relation to the hospital’s performance, as well as ensuring HACs are consulted prior to major services changes being implemented at their hospitals.
“Only a Marshall Liberal Government will have the right priorities to put our State back on track.”