SA health sector faces continued job losses despite $1.1b infrastructure spending spree
AMA(SA) President Associate Professor William Tam spoke with Radio Adelaide about why all that glitters in the State Budget's $1.1b hospital infrastructure spending spree is not necessarily gold for the State's health system which is facing the loss of significant expertise.
The 2017 budget provides funding for shiny new health infrastructure projects including a new Women’s Hospital, a new proton beam therapy facility at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) as well as upgrades to the Lyell McEwin, Modbury, Queen Elizabeth Hospitals and Flinders Medical Centre.
Yet at the same time, the government is announcing a tender for outpatient imaging at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital which will see the loss of 20 radiology training positions and this is likely to result in the loss of the South Australian radiology training network's accreditation.
The government has also announced nearly 200 pathology jobs will be lost from SA Pathology and clinicians have warned this will cause delays in receiving the results of important tests, including tests for communicable diseases.
The budget has nothing for medical training, or preventative health and very little for rural health.
“It’s ironic that this budget is being touted as a jobs budget when we have been highlighting the loss of key expertise in the health sector through Transforming Health for some time,” Dr Tam said.
“The budget, like the Transforming Health project, has not taken sufficient care to support the system’s greatest source of capital – its people - and so we are left to deal with the loss of critical skills from this state,” he said.
“Clearly it is wonderful to announce new infrastructure in metropolitan Adelaide but new hospital facilities do not translate into better health care for South Australian patients or quality training for medical professionals. The public are becoming more aware of this."