Minister Snelling needs to come out of the bunker and clearly explain the cuts the Weatherill Government is looking at implementing at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Blanket denials by SA Health that care will be diminished have been challenged by reports from within the hospital that the Women’s Emergency Service will close between 12 midnight and 7am and that emergency patients will instead need to go to the Labour Ward during these hours.
“Over the past 24 hours we have been subjected to a wave of spin and misinformation,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.
“The Labour Ward is not an adequate substitute service, particularly for women with issues in the early stage of pregnancy and non-pregnancy related women’s health issues.”
The State Liberals have also been advised that the antenatal and postnatal wards are slated to be merged.
“It would mean that women dealing with miscarriage or still-birth would be sharing a ward with women caring for newborns. This is not improving health care for women,” said Mr Wade.
“Both these proposals are clearly driven by budget imperatives, not health care.
“It is ridiculous to think that women are less likely to experience an emergency between midnight and 7am.”
Downgrading the women’s emergency service and keeping the paediatric intensive care at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital will force pregnant women to make risky decisions about where to go for care.
Closing the women’s emergency service between those times will force women to go to the Royal Adelaide Hospital Emergency Department – a service which is chronically overcrowded and does not have the specialist expertise in women’s health offered at the Women’s and Children’s.
Over the last few days, the RAH ED has been overcapacity for, on average, 5 of the 7 hours that the unit is proposed to be closed. A part-time Emergency Department is a prescription for confusion and risk to patients.