Question Time: Yorketown Hospital

Wednesday 29 March 2017
Question Time: Yorketown Hospital

Hansard, House of Assembly, Tues 28 March 2017: Country Health Services - Yorketown Hospital

Member for Goyder Steven Griffiths MP questions the Minister for Health the Hon. Jack Snelling MP on the decision by Country Health SA to remove general, gynaecological and urological services from Yorketown Hospital from 1 April 2017:

Country Health Services – Yorketown Hospital Question 28 March 2017

Mr GRIFFITHS ( Goyder ) ( 15:13 ): My question is to the Minister for Health. Does the minister accept that Dr George Kokar, a long-serving general practitioner at Yorketown, has never given his support for the removal of a general surgery or urology services from Yorketown Hospital, which is contrary to the public claims of the Chief Executive of SA Health? Why is it that it is only the wide level of community concerns expressed, and my declaration of holding a public meeting on 20 April, that has forced Country Health SA into holding community consultation on these plans?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING ( Playford - Minister for Health, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Health Industries) (15:14): Certainly, my understanding, and what I had been briefed, was that he was supportive of the changes and that the health advisory council had also been consulted about these changes and were broadly supportive.

If that has changed, and we accept that they now have a different view, then obviously we are revisiting the issue, but there are still challenges to continuing to provide that service at Yorketown Hospital that need to be resolved.

A lot of those issues do revolve around the availability of that particular doctor to be able to continue to provide the service. I'm not going to get into a 'he said, she said' type squabble about these issues, but we certainly accept that he has a different point of view now, and we will work with him as constructively as we can to try to resolve this issue.

Country Health Services

Mr GRIFFITHS (Goyder ) ( 15:15 ): Supplementary, sir: I understand that the 1 April date originally set for the removal of the services has now been removed. Is there an indication of when the community consultation will start, what form it will take and if another date has been set when that is?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING ( Playford - Minister for Health, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Health Industries) (15:15): No other date has been set, but we do have an issue with our ability to continue to provide that service at that hospital revolving around the availability of that doctor continuing to provide the service. That is going to come to a head at some stage, but I certainly hope we can have this issue resolved.

Providing any service at any of our hospitals, country or metropolitan, revolves around two critical issues.  One is the availability of clinicians who have the requisite skills to be able to provide that service which you can't do if you don't have them and the second is that you are able to do it in sufficient numbers, whatever the procedure might be, so as to meet the various clinical guidelines about the requisite number for a particular service to be safe. I think they are two pretty critical issues that you can't get around at Yorketown Hospital.

The bottom line for me is, unless I can be reassured that a service is safe in one of our country hospitals, we won't be doing it because I won't be having the Coroner coming after me saying that I intervened and insisted that a service continue to be provided when the clinical advice I had was that it couldn't be done in sufficient numbers to be safe, but we will continue to work with the Yorketown community and see if we can find a solution to this issue.