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Averting a crisis in country health care

The State Liberals are calling on the Health Minister Jack Snelling to personally take charge of negotiations with the Rural Doctors’ Association of SA to avert a potential walk-out of GPs from country health services across South Australia.

Negotiations between SA Health and the Rural Doctors’ Association have broken down over a range of issues including the ability of country patients to access hospital care in the city.


“Regional South Australians can’t afford this damaging stand-off to continue and it’s time the Minister stepped in to break the impasse,” said Shadow Minister Health Stephen Wade.


“Regional doctors have good reason to be in dispute with the department.


“Just last month, a Yorke Peninsula woman had to be flown to Mount Gambier for surgery because they could not find a bed in metropolitan Adelaide.


“It’s not acceptable that country doctors are having to spend days ringing around city hospitals looking for a bed for their patients.”


If new contracts aren’t signed by the end of May deadline, up to 30 rural and remote health services could be left without a GP – and about half of those sites provide emergency services.


“With the deadline looming, SA Health is refusing to negotiate with the Rural Doctors’ Association.”


“This dispute has been going on for almost 6 months and the deadline is now little more than 2 weeks away.


“The Health Minister is responsible for ensuring that all South Australians have access to hospital care and Jack Snelling needs to break the impasse.


“The Weatherill Government completely ignored rural South Australians in Transforming Health, it must not ignore them in these critical negotiations,” said Stephen Wade.