Labor's Surgery Charade

15 Jan 2008 archivemedia

Promises to clear the surgical waiting list within a year are a charade without the Rann Government providing extra doctors, nurses and hospital beds.

Acting Shadow Health Minister Michelle Lensink said the promise of clearing 2200 people from the long-term waiting list is a cruel promise.

“Hospitals perform 38,000 surgical procedures a year and the extra 2260 operations will increase pressure on an already stretched system by 6 per cent,” Ms Lensink said.

“Health Minister John Hill needs to explain how he will clear the waiting lists without extra doctors, nurses and hospital beds.

“And where are the recovery wards and home nursing follow ups for people who have had these procedures?”

Ms Lensink said a 67-year-old Adelaide man has contacted our office today to say he has been on the waiting list for a hip replacement for more than three years.

“He was told in September that it wasn’t about the money; there were simply not enough doctors or beds,” Ms Lensink said.

“People with chronic illnesses have to suffer in pain while waiting for a doctor and a bed to be found.

“If all it took was a wave of the magic money wand and the backlog crisis would be solved then why didn’t the government do it years ago?”

Ms Lensink said the State Liberals have proposed that the Health Department contact the private hospitals to see how much spare capacity was available in their system.

“Mike Rann is the highest-taxing Premier but he has spent the money on the wrong priorities,” Ms Lensink said.

“We wouldn’t have to go cap in hand to Canberra for more money to run our hospitals if Rann hadn’t mismanaged the State’s finances.”