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Labor’s health hub promise is an election alibi

The State Liberals are warning that the Labor proposal for a $30 million “health hub” across the road from the new Royal Adelaide Hospital should be treated with an enormous dose of skepticism.

Labor has mismanaged the RAH project for 10 years now and 10 days out from an election this is nothing more than an election alibi to try to cover up their inaction.

The proposal is vague and a site has not been identified, let alone secured.

Labor has an appalling record of broken promises.

Two and a half years after Labor’s plan to build a dedicated elective eye surgery centre at the Modbury Hospital collapsed as part of the Weatherill Government’s Transforming Health debacle, thousands of South Australians with serious eye conditions – some of whom are at risk of permanently losing their sight - have been left stranded in an outpatient hell entirely of Labor’s making.

Labor’s health hub has all the hallmarks of a “too hard basket” response to try to avoid difficult questions in the last 10 days of an election campaign rather than a well-considered, well-consulted plan.

Labor’s failure to engage clinicians over the last 10 years has given us the NRAH debacle. Labor’s announcement today indicates that if they have another four years in government, they will continue on with the same disregard.

Over the last four years of Labor’s mismanagement of South Australia’s public health system, the number of South Australians on the overdue elective surgery waiting list and the ‘hidden” waiting list of outpatient appointments has ballooned.

At the start of this year, more than 3,600 South Australians were marooned on the new RAH’s Ophthalmology Surgical waiting list, 300 of whom had been on the waiting list for an appointment for more than five years.

“Those patients don’t need a health hub, they need a date for an outpatient appointment and as clear pathway to elective surgery if required,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“The operational problems at the new RAH are very serious and won’t be addressed with a “quick-fix” annex across the road.

“A Marshall Liberal Government will initiate the clinician-led audit of the RAH facilities that the Australian Medical Association has called for.

“Unlike Labor, a Marshall Liberal Government will act swiftly to tackle South Australia’s elective surgery backlog, including recommissioning operating theatres at the Repat Hospital.

“South Australians should remember the Labor Party promised to ‘never ever close’ the Repat and then the Weatherill Government did just that.

“People should also beware that Labor has recycled its promise to upgrade TQEH from the 2010 and 2014 election campaigns and then quickly walked away from its commitment.

“Labor cannot be trusted to deliver on its health promises.”