Health | Ageing

Transformation, not incremental reform needed: SA Health Minister

To meet SA’s future health challenges, sector transformation rather than incremental reform is needed, Minister for Health, the Hon. Jack Snelling has told a CEDA event in Adelaide.

Speaking at the CEDA event on the same day he launched the SA Government’s Transforming Health discussion paper, Mr Snelling said: “There are many areas where we don’t deliver consistently high quality care.”

“The discussion paper highlights some of these areas, sets out the case for change, proposes a number of principles and standards developed by clinicians, and then talks about some of the implications of adopting quality standards,” he said.

The Clinical Advisory Committees, established earlier this year, found system-wide differences in the length of stay and morality rates at the state’s hospitals, he said.

“The hospital attended, or time of attendance shouldn’t result in different mortality rates but it does,” Mr Snelling said.

“Stroke is a key example of this, with your chance of surviving a stroke being four times greater if you are admitted between 8am and midnight.

“We are looking at changes we can implement to reduce this inconsistency.”

These changes may relate to how many sites can realistically be equipped to deliver specialist services; whether we are consistent in utilising technology advances, or whether more integration or specialisation is needed in some services, he said.

“We have a number of other opportunities with health which will interact with the transformation project,” he said.

Mr Snelling said a five-year relationship agreement, recently signed by GE Healthcare Australia, SA Health and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institution (SAHMRI), provides a vehicle for future research collaborations focusing on oncology, neurology, Indigenous health and integrated care.

“This is a prime example of how a collaborative approach will help translate medical research and technology into practical outcomes for future healthcare,” he said.

Mr Snelling said consultation on the Transforming Health discussion paper will be open until 21 November 2014, with a summit planned for the end of the year before any decisions about the configuration of services are made.