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What next for Health? Beyond the first 100 days

As the State Government prepares to deliver its first Budget, the AMA(SA) is highlighting some of our key priority areas for the Government.

“The new Government’s first 100 days have come and gone. There was a pre-set ‘to-do’ list for that period, and it has certainly been apparent that the Government has been working to that checklist. The business of governing is a long game, though, and the AMA(SA) wants to ensure that key areas are addressed over the months ahead,” said AMA(SA) state president A/Prof William Tam.

“With that in mind, we are putting a spotlight on some of the key themes we took to this year’s state election. These are areas that the Government must improve”.

The AMA(SA) Key Priorities for Health: Beyond the First 100 Days highlights:
• The right care: clinician-led, clinically informed decision-making
• Rural and remote health: no South Australian should be left behind
• Children and young people: investing in our future
• Older South Australians, mental health, rights and wellbeing
• Integrated hospital and GP care
• Healing the healers: doctors’ wellbeing, and system culture

“While funding is an aspect of a number of the areas we have highlighted – and extra topical in the context of the upcoming state budget – much of what is needed is not about dollars, it’s about sense. It’s not about buildings, it’s about the people, culture, and processes,” said A/Prof Tam

“We want an overarching plan for the health of children and young people in this state, so important decisions such as planning around the new WCH will be made with a broader vision for what we have, and what is needed. Health is about much more than just hospitals, important as they are. We also need a real commitment to prevention and early intervention, and the range of out-of-hospital supports and services.”

“We want to see a culture shift in SA Health to have real consultation and input from doctors on system changes and a better overall workplace culture. Our members have change fatigue and it has been taking its toll.”

“We also want sound use of, and understanding of data, so decisions are not made on dodgy numbers for political reasons, such as the purported and subsequently debunked ‘500 extra deaths’ in South Australia that were used, in part, to justify the Transforming Health upheavals.”

“Rural health cannot continue to be left behind. Whilst there has been Commonwealth and State government investment in infrastructure, there is a difference in the age and quality of medical equipment in some country hospitals compared to their metropolitan cousins which should be addressed. Equally, the rural medical workforce remains a challenge with rural and regional health needing an extra $50M investment per annum if we are serious about delivering more reliable and expanded clinical services in regional and rural South Australia.”

“More must be done to provide seamless GP and hospital care. It doesn’t need to be hard and would make an enormous difference to the efficiency of the health system.”

“Post-Oakden, we also need to know that vulnerable older South Australians will receive safe and appropriate care. Palliative care is another important area of need. We cannot continue to let people down when they are sick and dying.”

“Above all, we need a health system that is just that – a system. We need the different components to work together as a whole to deliver South Australians access to the care and support they need. As doctors we see all the different parts, what works well, what doesn’t, and where the gaps are. Our budget priorities highlight some of those areas. We and our members stand ready to help the government deliver the improvements we seek for the benefit of all South Australians.”

The AMA(SA)’s Key Priorities for Health: Beyond the First 100 Days, can be found below.