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Labor’s Plan Threatens Emergency Department crisis in North

Labor’s radical health cuts plan threatens to make the Emergency Department crisis in Adelaide’s North even worse, Stephen Wade, Shadow Minister for Health said today.

The latest SA Health data [1] shows that emergency department services in Adelaide’s North have gone backwards over the last three years.

The key target is the proportion of patients who depart the Emergency Department within four hours. 

In 2011, the Weatherill Labor Government committed to a target of 82% by 2014 and 90% by 2015. 

By the end of last year, the Adelaide metropolitan hospitals adult emergency departments had only reached 55%.

“Both Northern hospitals have gone backwards over the last three years – since the December 2011 quarter, Modbury has gone backwards by 20% (from 70.5% to 50.8%)

“Under Transforming Health, the Modbury Hospital is heading for a double downgrade.

“With the establishment of the mega-EDs, life-threatening emergencies will be diverted from Modbury.

“Further, the new contracts for doctors indicate that the Government is not committed to general surgical services at Modbury Hospital. 

The South Australian Salaried Medical Officers Association (SASMOA) confirmed that as a result of the plan “there is unlikely to be any … general surgical services … delivered out at the Modbury Hospital. (891 ABC 30/03/15)

“Without surgical support, Modbury Hospital Emergency Department would not be able to receive more severe cases.”

Two waves of diversions from Modbury to Lyell McEwin and the Royal Adelaide are likely to make the situation in these already overcrowded Emergency Departments even worse.

“When Modbury Hospital is no longer providing general surgical services its Emergency Department will most likely become unsustainable which in turn will undermine the viability of the entire Hospital,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“When the Labor Government released its Budget last year, the media was briefed that Modbury Hospital was slated for closure – we now see that the Weatherill Government’s goal has not changed; they just intend to do it by instalments.

“At present Modbury Hospital’s Emergency Department handles over 35,000 presentations a year and more than 11,000 of these people are then admitted to the hospital.

“The planned reduction to the Emergency Department, the transfer of rehabilitation services from Hampstead and the transfer of specialist eye services to Modbury will all combine to displace other medical services that are a metropolitan hospital’s life blood.”