Concerns about the reduction of health services at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH) justify the Budget and Finance Committee’s decision to conduct an inquiry into the NRAH project.
This morning on ABC Radio interviews with Health Minister Snelling and the Past-Chair of RACSSA Peter Subramaniam made it clear the Government was planning moving non-cancer related gynaecology services away from the NRAH and to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH):
Subramaniam: “Imagine that the services will be amalgamated and gynaecology will be moved to the NRAH and gynaecology to TQEH…
Abraham: “…are you saying, as the Minister is, that all the existing services provided to women for obstetrics and gynaecology, including emergency, will still be at the NRAH at the same level?”
Subramaniam: “Not at the same level…one would imagine that a stable ectopic pregnancy would be transferred to TQEH. It goes to the point that was discussed prior to the election about whether there will be a requirement for current services at the RAH to be transferred out and I think at that time I might have raised the issue that the central question is whether the NRAH is going to be adequately sized and has sufficient facilities to do all that the old RAH does. I suspect the answer to that is that it is not.”
The Liberal Party has a copy of the SA Health proposal which is the focus of this debate dated 8 January 2014 and titled ‘Strategic Executive Discussion Paper Gynaecology Services RAH and QEH’.
The key recommendation of this paper was:
“The purpose of this paper is therefore to seek approval from CALHN Executive to implement the first model, that is moving Gynaecological Oncology from TQEH to (N)RAH while transferring non-oncological Gynaecology from (N)RAH to TQEH.’
This proposed move of non-cancer related gynaecology services to TQEH is clearly a broken promise by Mr Snelling because he was asked this exact question prior to the election and on 27 February on ABC Radio said:
“Look guys I’m sorry to spoil the story for you but the simple fact is I have previously given a commitment that the NRAH will have all the services…whatever is floating around the department in terms of ideas I will hold my department to that promise… Well if this proposal is about shifting services out of the RAH then yes they are wasting their time, indeed.”
Other issues the Budget and Finance Committee will consider in its inquiry into the NRAH project will include:
• The extent of cost blowouts on the project, including additional costs to SA Health for providing services such as the transportation of pathology samples between the NRAH and SA Pathology on Frome Road;
• Industrial relations and worker safety issues on site; and,
• The impact of the delays in the Government’s controversial EPAS project given planning for the NRAH to be a ‘paperless’ hospital.