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South Australian Hospitals Face Staff Cuts

The South Australian opposition claims more staff cuts are being planned for public hospitals

ADELAIDE, Australia — More job cuts are being planned in South Australian public hospitals, with doctors and nurses in the firing line, the state opposition says.

Labor says consultancy group KordaMentha has outlined the second tranche of savings measures which recommends staff cuts at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.

It says the Salaried Medical Officers’ Association has advised its members the document includes cuts to clinical staff including doctors, nurses, allied health, and administrative positions.

Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said at a time of increasing stress on the health system, and ambulance ramping at unprecedented levels, more staff cuts were “incomprehensible”.

“The government needs to stop their cuts agenda and listen to our doctors, nurses, and paramedics who say more resources are needed to address the crisis,” Picton said.

Health Minister Stephen Wade indicated he was not aware of the latest plans and said he would seek a briefing on the matter.

Cryptoparty founder Asher Wolf tweeted “The Perth Children’s Hospital boss and Health Minister Roger Cook will keep their jobs despite a report revealing staffing, policy and equipment failures that could have contributed to the death of seven-year-old Aishwarya Aswath on April 3.”

But he said it was the ongoing responsibility of the local health network to manage its budget.

Staff move new fittings into building during the official opening of the emergency department at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide. (David Mariuz/AAP Image)

“I am expecting the management will do that,” he said.

President South Australia Salaried Medical Officers Association David Pope tweeted “Long hours worked by doctors and now SA Health nurses doing 16-hour shifts followed by inadequate time off before the next shift is dangerous for all. Healthcare needs ‘chain of responsibility laws like transport. Health bureaucrats must be held accountable.”

The Ambulance Employees Association tweeted “This is Flinders Medical Centre just after 4 pm today. 12 ambulances ramped, many patients forced to wait for longer than 4 hours. More beds, more staff, more ambos. Not more cuts.”

The Adelaide Emergency Departments tweeted, “Five Emergency Departments currently critically overcrowded above capacity: Women’s & Children’s — 150% Flinders — 149% Queen Elizabeth — 138% Lyell McEwin — 135% Modbury — 126% and 1 other Emergency Department is at or over capacity.”

Chris Picton said at a time of increasing stress on the health system, and ambulance ramping at unprecedented levels, more staff cuts were “incomprehensible”. (Dean Lewins/AAP Image)

KordaMentha was appointed in 2018 as administrators of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network amid an AU$ 300 million ($233.91 million) budget blowout.

It hoped to instigate savings worth AU$ 276 million ($215.224 million) over three years.

The contract was suspended in April last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the firm resumed its work later in 2020.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari. Map by Urvashi Makwana.)