Shadow Minister for Health Rob Lucas said today the proposed closure of paediatric services at Modbury Hospital was due to financial mismanagement and waste relating to blowouts on a number of projects such as $40 million on the Oracle IT project.
The Government’s controversial proposal to close the designated paediatric ward has been done so that it can be replaced by a 20 bed rehabilitation ward.
This need for a 20 bed rehabilitation ward was made necessary by blowouts on a number of projects causing a 4-5 year delay in the building of a promised new rehabilitation and therapy centre next to the Modbury Hospital.
For example, this year’s budget paper 6 (page 68) notes that the $40 million blowout in the Oracle IT project has meant ‘identified savings from the major projects investing programme of $24 million have been reallocated to the implementation of the Oracle system…’
Put simply that means the $40 million blowout has been partly paid for by delaying other important capital works projects!
“Families in the north eastern suburbs will be very angry when they realize that not only has the Government broken its promise but it has done so as a result of financial mismanagement and blowouts,” said Mr Lucas.
Under the proposed new arrangements not only will the paediatric ward be closed but many specialized services such as paediatric ENT services and dental surgery will be lost. Sick or injured children who are assessed as needing to be admitted to a hospital will need to wait on average for three hours for an ambulance to transport them to the Lyell McEwin Hospital. The average cost to the system for the ambulance will be over $900.
In February this year Mr Snelling clearly promised in his press release the continued operation of a ‘paediatric ward’ at Modbury and no matter how he tries to spin it this proposal is a clear broken promise. This promise at the time was supported by local Labor MPs Frances Bedford and Tom Kenyon.
“Mr Weatherill and Mr Snelling continue to claim they are not cutting ‘front line services’ but they must be the only people left in the state who believe that claim!” said Mr Lucas.