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Weatherill must sack Jack

The State Liberals today demanded that the Premier sack Health Minister Jack Snelling in the face of a mounting wave of protest from health professionals.

More than four months ago, Jack Snelling had a stark warning from health professionals that they had not been properly consulted on bed closures – since then rather than being engaged they have been actively excluded.

“Minister Snelling either can't be trusted or can’t deliver,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

Last year the Weatherill Labor Government promised that no public hospital bed would close until it had been demonstrated that the bed is no longer required.

Four and a half months ago, SA Health tried to close S7, a 28-bed ward at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

After the nurses union objected, they received a clear commitment to consultation and independent verification of bed closure impacts.

On 7 September, ANMF CEO, Assoc Prof Dabars said:

“…we have asked the Minister to intervene, the Minister has written very clearly to us reconfirming his commitment and I understand he’s had some very clear and direct conversations particularly with the Chief Executive of SA Health who I’m well aware does understand...”

The next day (8 September) Jack Snelling said:

“we’re not going to close a bed until we can demonstrate that we’ve been able to achieve … efficiencies …”

Minister Snelling went on to say:

“…yesterday I met and the leadership at the Royal Adelaide Hospital met with the nurses’ union and we’ve agreed to put a pause on that process to enable that consultation to occur ...that is something which satisfied the concerns of the nurses’ union and as far as I’m concerned we’re back on track.”

“Last week, in spite of the Weatherill Government’s September commitment, SA Health went ahead with the closure of Ward S7, without consultation and without evidence of patient safety,” said Mr Wade.

“Doctors and nurses say they have been lied to. The doctor’s union has lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission and the nurses are holding meetings today to discuss industrial action.

“If the Premier won’t sack Jack Snelling he must take personal responsibility for the hospital chaos he is creating,” said Mr Wade.