Improve preventative and supporting care

Weekender Herald | Hon Kelly Vincent MLC

Last week, Health Minister Jack Snelling announced that job cuts to SA Pathology will be delayed by 12 months in an indication that the government’s reasoning was wrong all along.

In July 2015 I said that this rationalisation by government of both city and country SA Pathology services would come back to bite not only government, but the community who depend on pathology to detect illness, promote good health, and even save lives.

The recent back-flip by the health minister, just seven months out from a state election, is evidence that the government needs to quit knee jerk policy, and instead protect the workers who protect our health.

Minister Snelling has finally realised South Australians need jobs, particularly jobs that support the health and wellbeing of our community.

We know that up to 70 per cent of all diagnoses rely on pathologists to provide information for an accurate diagnosis and treatment, so cutting jobs could result in South Australians going undiagnosed, getting sicker, or dying prematurely.

More than half of South Australians will use SA Pathology services each year, so it’s an essential component of any decent health system.

This is the second reversal from SA Health and the health minister in 24 hours, after they also admitted proposed cuts to hydrotherapy pools were untenable. Hydrotherapy is a key part of rehabilitation and ongoing therapy, and with our ageing community, it beggars belief that SA Health moved to axe access to pools for many clients.

There is a desperate need for more hydrotherapy facilities across the state. It’s a constant frustration to me that the health minister, and his Labor government, make short sighted decision to defund preventive and primary health care programs.

One of the reasons health costs are spiralling out of control is because our health system often fails to support people to remain in the community, and receive locally based services.

People are much healthier if they stay at home surrounded by supportive friends, family and health care professionals. We need to fund primary health care programs that support the health interests of the whole community, including intensive support for those with chronic health conditions.

Instead, the government insists on crisis-driven hospital based care that is costly to both the economy, and the social wellbeing of South Australians. It’s not good enough, and progressive, holistic health policy needs to be implemented by our leaders.

Kelly Vincent MLC, Dignity Party