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Urgent action on safety needed after wake-up call

An SA Health report has shown that, under Jack Snelling, SA Health’s leadership failed to protect patient safety, denied the problems and now lacks a sense of urgency in fixing them.

A review into the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, dated October but released yesterday, found that a key safety alert system that should have been used to report the under-dosing of chemotherapy drugs at two Adelaide hospital is rarely used by medical staff.

All year, Andrew Knox and the Opposition have highlights systemic non-compliance with safety processes in SA Health.  The SA Health leadership has responded with repeated denials:

Mr SWAN: I believe there is an issue within [SA Pathology] that is not respecting the policies and procedures that SA Health has that are well respected by the majority of our clinicians, that are well understood (nationally and internationally) are not being followed, but I don't have any evidence that this is widespread and systemic across our system.[1]

“It is completely unacceptable that SA Health says that change will take five years to implement”, said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“There is no sense of urgency.  This is patient safety. 

“The Minister must demand an implementation plan for all eight recommendations and do everything he can to bring forward much needed reform. 

“After 14 years of Labor mismanagement, South Australians should not have to wait another 5 years before SA Health meet basic national and international safety standards. 

“The report highlights that the Weatherill Government’s denial of reality and failure to call a judicial inquiry has condemned South Australian patients to a piecemeal and unnecessarily protracted remedial action.

“Minister Snelling needs to ensure these reforms are implemented in the quickest manner possible.”

[1] SELECT COMMITTEE ON CHEMOTHERAPY DOSING ERRORS - Thursday, 16 June 2016 Legislative Council Page 23

David Swan was Chief Executive Officer of SA Health, at this time.