State Budget Exposes Labor’s Health Cuts Plan

This week’s State Budget has exposed the Weatherill Government’s Transforming Health as a health cuts plan, not a health improvement strategy.

The Weatherill Government has cut the health budget and slashed hundreds of jobs in our hospitals.

 

“Health Minister Jack Snelling needs to detail how many doctors, nurses and orderlies are going to be cut from our hospitals,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.

 

“The Weatherill Government plans to cut 3.2% of SA Health’s workforce, including 867 full-time equivalent positions in the Local Health Networks that run our hospitals.

 

“The cuts come despite the Weatherill Government benefiting from unbudgeted GST inflows of $284m this financial year.”

 

If the cuts are applied to the networks according to their current share of LHN staff that will mean the following job losses:

 

Local Health Networks

2014-15 FTEs

(Est Result)

Share of Program FTE

FTE Share of Budget Cut

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

10,369

36%

313

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

3,175

11%

96

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

5,806

20%

175

Women’s and Children’s Health Network

2,624

9%

79

Country Health SA Local Health Network

5,514

19%

167

 

 

This is not the dividend of a four-year health efficiency campaign – it is slashing jobs in year one when health professional organisations are still saying that they cannot see how the Government’s plans will work.

 

The fact that these cuts are not dividends of reform is highlighted by the fact that even though Transforming Health is focussed exclusively on metropolitan hospitals, country hospitals have not been spared the job cuts.  Health sector jobs are spread throughout the State with hospitals often being the first or second highest employer in country towns.

 

The only area in health to expand is the ambulance service.  The 75 FTE budget allocation is forced on the Government by its plan to downgrade half the metropolitan Emergency Departments and have people travel further.